Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) have discovered how to produce high-quality gasoline of all standards from by-products of gas production. According to the authors of the research work, new technology is notable for its simplicity and will enable oil and gas producers to switch to self-sufficiency in fuel. The research findings are published in the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.
Stable gas condensates (SGC) are a by-product of natural gas processing. The scientists noted that in most reservoirs, for lack of better use options, they are blended with oil to improve its fluidity and facilitate transportation.
The TPU scientists claim that SGCs are a valuable hydrocarbon feedstock. The scientists believe that processing them into high-octane petrol components using a zeolite catalyst is a more efficient way to use them.
The research of the TPU chemists showed that processing on zeolite enables the octane number of SGC to be increased by an average of 18 points, i.e. to obtain petrol 80 Research Octane Number (RON) in a single technological stage. The scientists also proposed blending formulations for commercial petrol standards: 92 RON, 95 RON, 98 RON based on the by-products of SGC processing.
“We have established the directions of hydrocarbon transformations in the SGC, as well as the impact of processing parameters on the composition and characteristics of the resulting products. This will allow selecting optimal parameters for the most efficient use of condensates of different composition,” Maria Kirgina, Associate Professor of the TPU Division for Chemical Engineering, told Sputnik news agency.
The proposed technology allows extractive enterprises to produce fuel for their own needs, as well as to provide it to a certain territory. Delivering fuel to remote facilities significantly increases the cost of production. Therefore, the scientists believe that the feasibility of moving towards autonomy will prove relevant for a number of regions of the world, for example, for the north of Russia, where many extractive industries operate.
The processing method does not require hydrogen-containing gas or special feedstock preparation, making it possible to implement it even in low-tonnage versions outside large refineries, the scientists stressed.
The advantages of the technology are related to the catalyst used – zeolite, the TPU scientists explained. Zeolites are inexpensive minerals that do not contain noble metals and are resistant to catalyst poisons. The proposed research is the first to implement the processing of stable gas condensates over the ZSM-5 zeolite catalyst.
The Compounding software package developed at TPU was used to develop petrol blending recipes and assess their detonation resistance. The next stage of the project is to create a mathematical model to accurately predict the composition and characteristics of the resulting products, the scientists said.