Effect of acidity, hydrogenating phases and texture properties of catalysts on the evolution of asphaltenes structures during reside hydroconversion
•A significant loss of molecular weight promoted by acidity occurs.•At short reaction time, acidity promotes cracking of naphthenic and alkyl units.•At short reaction time, hydrogenation is not completed.•With longer reaction times, hydrogenation is enhanced: hydrocracking takes place.•Asphaltenes aromaticity does not increase.
The aim of this work was to investigate vacuum residues hydroconversion using acid-modified catalysts. To achieve this goal, silicon was incorporated by a grafting procedure. The catalysts with different silicon amounts in the support or hydrogenating actives phases were evaluated performing hydrotreatment of a Safaniya vacuum residue at 370 °C. A multi-techniques set of analyses was used, in order to characterize both the sulphided active phase and acidity. It can be concluded from this study that acidity is beneficial for conversion of asphaltenes but the hydrogenation active phase does not seem to be the main way to improve the transformation. The proposed mechanism is the following: with short reaction time, acidity promotes cracking of naphthenic and alkyl units but hydrogenation is not completed. Then, with longer reaction times, asphaltenes reveal a loss of aromatic rings which demonstrates that the hydrogenation pathway is enhanced and a significant loss of molecular weight is observed. This new way of transformation opens the way to a complete change of reactivity over the whole HDT processes. If used as a pretreatment of petroleum residues, this type of catalyst could drastically improve the conversion yield of heavy feeds in order to develop sustainable refining processes.
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Journal: Catalysis Today - Volume 258, Part 2, 1 December 2015, Pages 304–318