12 Feb 2016


The Mexican Oil Institute (IMP) developed a catalyst adsorbent material that removes 80 percent of organic compounds from hydrocarbon charges before starting the process of hydrodesulfurization (sulfur removing from the hydrocarbon). It also allows Pemex (Mexican Oil Company) to generate ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) more quickly and cheaply.

Its use in a preliminary process will increase the life of the catalyst for up to 30 months over current standards by avoiding high temperatures and pressures during operation in the reactor.

Doctor in chemical engineering Rodolfo Mora, head of the project, said that the research initiated by the need of Pemex to convert its production of diesel from 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur to ULSD of only 15 ppm, which benefits the environment.

With this material they seek to eliminate the organic nitrogen compounds found in crude oil, as these are strong inhibitors of the hydrodesulfurization process, so by reducing its content production is facilitated and it becomes more profitable.

During the first stage of the research, several Mexican institutions provided different materials (130 in total) to evaluate their adsorption capacity and selectivity of nitrogen compounds.

In the end, the most viable was synthesized by the IMP (IMP-NitSorb), which met the specifications to remove 80 percent of nitrogen through a simple and efficient process. Discovering different routes to prepare it originated several patent applications. In pilot studies, it was discovered that the adsorbent material can treat between 200 and 250 barrels of oil per ton of adsorbent in each cycle, which means that if it useful life is of one thousand cycles (three years) each ton can treat between 200,000 and 250,000 barrels. Currently the team is working on scaling the development to an industrial level, which is expected to be operational in a year and a half.


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