Petrochemicals such as polypropylene and polybutadiene are priced much higher than the petroleum refinery produts. Petroleum refinery units try to maximize their profits by bottom of the barrel upgradation using fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC), which converts the heavier hydrocarbons into lighter ones namely liquified petroleum gas (LPG), which predominantly contains propane and butane. The light gases (propane and butane) are feedstock for petrochemical production. These light gases are converted (dehydrogenated) to highly reactive propylene and butylene (the chief raw materials for the above mentioned petrochemicals). Propane and butane are always available as mixture along with trace quantities of methane and ethane. In any commercial process, the propane and butane are separated first and then dehydrogenated in separate reactors. This may probably lead to high fixed and operating costs. Current study proposes a process intensification method via mixed-feed dehydrogenation in a multi-tubular fixed bed catalytic reactor with Pt-Sn suppoted on γ-Al2O3. The dehydrogenation takes place at 500- 800°C and is highly endothermic. The fixed bed dehydrogenation reactor was modeled for the mixed feed of propane and butane. The reactor is simualted for various parameters under isothermal as well as adiabatic operating conditions, and the results between the two processes were compared.
Dr. Udaya Bhaskar Reddy Ragula, S.R., S., and Rangarajan, M., “Mixed-Light Paraffin Dehydrogenation in a Catalytic Multi-Tubular Reactor: Modeling and Simulation”, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting. 2014.