UOP PLATFORMING PROCESS
The Platforming process is a UOP developed and engineered catalytic reforming process in widespread use today throughout the petroleum and petrochemical industries. The first UOP Platforming unit went on-stream in 1949. The Platforming process has since become a standard feature in refineries worldwide.
In the Platforming process, light petroleum distillate (naphtha) is contacted with a platinum containing catalyst at elevated temperatures and hydrogen pressures ranging from 345 to 3450 kPa (50 to 500 lb/in2 gage). Platforming produces a high-octane liquid product that is rich in aromatic compounds. Chemical-grade hydrogen, light gas, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are also produced as reaction by-products.
Originally developed to upgrade low-octane-number straight-run naphtha to high octane motor fuels, the process has since been applied to the production of LPG and high purity aromatics. A wide range of specially prepared platinum-based catalysts permit tailored processing schemes for optimum operation. With proper feed preparation, Platforming efficiently handles almost any refinery naphtha.
The first Platforming units were designed as semiregenerative (SR), or fixed-bed, units employing monometallic catalysts. Semiregenerative Platforming units are periodically shut down to regenerate the catalyst. This regeneration includes burning off catalyst coke and reconditioning the catalyst’s active metals. To maximize the length of time (cycle) between regenerations, these early units were operated at high pressures in the range of 2760 to 3450 kPa (400 to 500 lb/in2 gage).
UOP recognized the limitations of fixed-bed catalyst stability and so commercialized Platforming with continuous regeneration, the CCR Platforming process, in 1971. The process employs continuous catalyst regeneration in which catalyst is continuously removed from the last reactor, regenerated in a controlled environment, and then transferred back to the first reactor. The CCR Platforming process represents a step change in reforming technology. With continuous regeneration, coke laydown is no longer an issue because the coke is continuously burned off and the catalyst is reconditioned to its original performance. The CCR Platforming process has enabled ultralow-pressure operations at 345 kPa (50 lb/in2 gage) and produced product octane levels as high as 108.