5%wt Co-processing of fast pyrolysis bio-oil in a conventional fluidized catalytic cracking unit in an existing refinery
There is the possibility of processing fast pyrolysis bio-oil (FPBO) in existing refineries. The most studied application currently is to co-process the bio-oil together with vacuum gasoil (VGO) in a FCC unit (fluidized catalytic cracking), which is normally present in complex refineries.
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FPBO is injected into the riser from a separate feed line so to keep its temperature below 60˚C. In the riser, the FPBO is catalytically cracked together with the VGO (or other regular FCC feed). The biocarbon in the FPBO is distributed across the various FCC products and the coke. The resulting product is a mix of fossil and biofuels, being gasoline and diesel the main outputs.
As in a conventional FCC, the coke deposits on the catalyst, which is burned in the regenerator. This combustion supplies the needed energy for the cracking reactions. Worldwide experiments claim that minor changes in the products yields are noticed in the FCC with co-processing up to 10%wt bio-oil. Few additional installations are needed to the refineries, however, due to the acidity of the pyrolysis bio-oil, new pipelines, feed nozzle and storage tank would be necessary. The investment costs for this application are, therefore, only related to the new units. Picture was extracted from Lammens, T., Talebi, G., Gbordzoe, E. (2019).