Direct conversion of crude oil to chemicals

Conventionally, petrochemicals are made from a fraction of refinery products, like ethane to ethylene, naphtha to ethylene, propylene and aromatics. It is highly desirable and strategically important to directly convert crude oil into valuable olefins and aromatics. Several challenges are often associated with such an approach spanning applications in steam crackers to catalytic cracking in multiphase reaction systems:

  • Determining factors influencing the formation of pyrolysis oil in the radiant section of a steam cracking furnace. Solutions here could include modified radiant coil design to reduce pyrolysis fuel oil formation as well as operational factors contributing to its formation
  • Efficiently removing vacuum residue from crude oil without passing through conventional distillation
  • Effective conversion or primary cracking of heavy oil components. For example, conversion of residue range molecules to vacuum gas oil range molecules leading to possible modified design or operation upstream of the pyrolysis section of a steam cracker
  • Coking from the direct cracking of heavy fractions of crude oil in a steam cracker or fluidized catalytic cracking reactor
  • Designing a novel one-step process to convert all fractions of crude oil to chemicals catalytically or non-catalytically

The deadline has passed and submissions are no longer being accepted for the 2012 Technology Quest