Research at CanmetENERGY is investigating the impacts and benefits of co-processing biomass derived feedstocks with petroleum feeds (including opportunity crudes such as bitumen and heavy oils). It is important to fully understand the co-processing of these two feeds because in many developed countries, it is required that biofuels replace from 6% to up to 10% of petroleum fuels in the near future. Co-processing petroleum with biomass derived feedstocks using existing refining infrastructure and configurations without changing catalysts, processes and technologies is the most desirable option to meet such government regulations. It offers a wide range of advantages from both technological and economical points of view.
This work was aimed at understanding the process performance of co-processing biomass derived and petroleum based feedstocks during conventional hydrotreating/mild hydrocracking. The feedstocks used were blends of different portions of canola oil, representing biomass derived feedstock, and heavy vacuum gas oil (HVGO) derived from Canadian bitumen. A series of pilot plant tests were conducted under typically used commercial operating conditions to investigate the effects of adding canola oil into HVGO on hydrodesulphurization (HDS), hydrodenitrogenation (HDN), hydrocracking conversion, and product yield and distribution. The experimental results demonstrated that when canola oil is blended into HVGO, HDS and HDN were essentially not affected. However, higher hydrocracking conversion of 343°C+ materials was achieved with the canola-HVGO blends compared to pure HVGO, suggesting that lower temperature is required to achieve the same hydrocracking conversion. In addition, higher diesel yield was obtained with the canola-HVGO blends compared to pure HVGO, which is desired for meeting the increasing diesel demand.
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