High-Performance Base Oils with Unique Branching Structure through Hydroisomerization of Paraffinic Feedstocks

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  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Annual Meeting
  • Presentation Date:
    November 17, 2020
  • Duration:
    18 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.30

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Base oil is the major component in finished lubricating oils, such as automotive engine oils, industrial oils, turbine oils, greases, metal working fluids, etc. They are also used as heat transfer fluids, process oils, and white oils. The ever-evolving demands for cleaner, greener, and more efficient transportation and equipment require the development of high-performance, unconventional base oils that are both economical and sustainable.

Branched paraffinic molecules are the preferred constituents for most of the base oil applications. To meet the desired low-temperature performance, as well as the stability requirements, the location, size, and number of the branches need to be carefully designed and controlled during the synthesis process. One pathway to achieve this objective is through selective hydroisomerization of paraffinic feedstocks with the right carbon numbers. These paraffins include but not limited to slack wax, Fisher-Tropsch wax, polyalphaolefins, hydrotreated renewable feedstocks, etc.

Catalysts used in the hydroisomerization reaction in our technology contain noble-metal loaded zeolites of a preferred group of structure types. These zeolites have been proven for maximizing selectivity towards isomerization of paraffinic feedstocks and minimizing undesirable cracking that leads to low-value fuel products. The reaction conditions are optimized for a balance between base oil yield and quality. NMR analysis of the final base oil products suggest unique branching structure characteristics that have not been observed in any existing base oils.

The unique structure of the isomerized paraffins leads to high viscosity index (VI) and low pour point. In addition, the high VI and narrow carbon distribution result in extremely low volatility. This combination enables the formulation of high-performance lubricant products such as low-viscosity synthetic engine oils and industrial oils.

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