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Petrochemical catalysts - At a glance

Shell Global Solutions offers a wide range of state-of-theart catalysts in association with CRI Catalyst Company (CRI), the global catalyst company of the Shell Group (“Shell”) and one of the world’s leading providers of high-performance catalysts to the petrochemical industry.

Increasing feedstock costs, legislative constraints, pressure to reduce production costs, the global economic downturn and the subsequent slump in demand for petrochemicals continue to challenge operators. CRI is helping operators meet these challenges in part through state-of-the-art catalytic innovations and solutions.

CRI’s portfolio of leading-edge products includes the following categories:

  • ethylene oxide (EO): CRI offers a range of highselectivity, high-activity and hybrid catalysts for the production of EO.
  • selective hydrogenation: CRI also supplies base and noble metal catalysts for use in treating ethylene cracker products (C2, C3, C4 and pyrolysis gasoline, pygas), aromatics saturation, olefin hydrogenation, isomerisation and carbonyl saturation. CRI also offers guard beds for sulphur, phosphorus, arsenic and chlorine removal.
  • environmental systems: CRI catalysts facilitate environmental compliance, such as for flue gas treatment for nitrogen oxide reduction; removal of volatile organic compounds or carbon monoxide; and for nitrous oxide decomposition.
  • hydrogen and speciality: CRI provides specialised catalysts for fuel processing, selective and total oxidation, carbon dioxide purification and hydrogen production.

About the technology

Regardless of the unit design, the operating conditions, the feed properties or the product targets, Shell Global Solutions and CRI work with customers to help them with their catalyst needs.

Shell Global Solutions designs its EO production processes around CRI’s high-selectivity EO catalyst. For more than 40 years, CRI has been a leader in the industry in catalyst technology breakthroughs and safe, efficient and environmentally responsible production of EO and ethylene glycol (EG). Over 37% of the world’s EO is produced in Shell-licensed plants, and CRI’s catalysts are responsible for 55% of the world’s EO production.

Through its CRI Leuna (formerly known as KataLeuna) brand, CRI provides a comprehensive range of high-performance catalyst products for both first- and second-stage pygas hydrotreating. Over the past seven years, CRI’s share of the pygas catalyst market has grown from ~4 to ~20%, and these products have become the catalysts of choice for some of the world’s major pygas processing companies. CRI Leuna catalysts fully complement Shell Global Solutions’ pygas hydrotreating process technology. 

Process description

CRI’s high-selectivity catalysts offer outstanding selectivity performance for efficient EO plant operation, and are designed to reduce ethylene consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Pygas is normally the last fraction of the various cuts associated with an ethylene steam cracker product stream to be treated. The treatment of pygas typically involves first-stage selective hydrogenation to remove most of the diolefins, followed by second-stage hydrotreatment for sulphur and olefin reduction. Reliable operation of the pygas hydrotreating unit is crucial for uninterrupted cracker operation. CRI Leuna (formerly known as KataLeuna) catalysts are optimised to give maximum performance while mitigating certain operational issues that can be experienced in pygas operations, such as reaction runaway, short catalyst bed life, increased aromatics saturation and reactor bed plugging.

Performance data

Petrochemical catalysts - Figure 1

Figure 1: CRI is dedicated to providing its broad customer base with effective and cost-efficient catalysts.

CRI was the first company to develop and market high-selectivity catalysts, and has continuously improved its products over the last 20 years.

Proof point

PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical Company selected the Shell MASTER EO/EG process and CRI’s high-selectivity EO catalyst for a new petrochemical complex near Chengdu, Sichuan, China. The plant will yield 380,000 t/y of monoethylene glycol and 50,000 t/y of high-purity EO.

Business value

Petrochemical catalysts - Have you considered

Lessons learned from the use of CRI catalysts in Shell’s commercial production units help in new catalyst development and in understanding process conditions for achieving overall catalyst performance optimisation.

Our highly experienced team will help you to choose the best catalyst for your process, operating conditions and individual constraints. Performance predictions and economic models can also help to optimise unit performance. Where we work closely with our customers in the selection process, we can offer certain unit process performance guarantees for conversion efficiency and catalyst life cycle.

We offer various levels of technical service support and troubleshooting. Our technical service teams include CRI catalyst specialists and engineers* with extensive plant and research experience. We can work with customers to help identify the best catalyst for the plant and production objectives; provide support during turnarounds and operations; predict performance and run length as a function of changing operating conditions; and provide technical support to help address plant problems that may affect catalyst performance.

CRI operates research laboratories, development facilities, manufacturing plants and business units throughout the world.

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