Second Brownfield Composite Ionic Liquid Alkylation Unit Commissioned in China
PetroChina Golmud Refinery
PetroChina Harbin Refinery
Calgary, AB, January 9, 2019 – Well Resources announced the commissioning of the world’s second brownfield Ionikylation unit in PetroChina’s Golmud, Qinghai refinery. Construction of the 50,000 tonne-per-year alkylation unit began in September 2017.
Commissioning of the Golmud unit comes just two months after PetroChina announced the successful start-up of a 150,000 tonne-per-year Ionikylation unit in its Harbin, Heilongjiang refinery.
Ionikylation is a novel alkylation technology that uses a proprietary composite ionic liquid as the catalyst to produce alkylates that meet or exceed the quality of those produced from traditional means. Unlike traditional alkylation processes that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid, the Ionikylation catalyst is non-corrosive and allows process equipment to be manufactured using low-cost carbon steel. The non-hazardous nature of the Ionikylation catalyst allows for safe operations and minimizes risks to refinery personnel.
China’s refiners have been steadily increasing alkylation capacity to produce low sulfur, higher octane alkylate to meet increasingly stringent motor vehicle emissions standards, such as China 6 quality specification (equivalent to Euro 6 specifications). Ionikylation has become the alkylation process of choice amongst state-owned refiners due to performance, safety, and cost considerations.
Chinese refiners are planning on building and commissioning up to 10 Ionikylation units over the next 2 years. In October 2018, Sinopec confirmed it is proceeding with the implementation of three 300,000 tonne-per-year Ionikylation units at its Jiujiang, Anqing, and Wuhan refineries.
Ionikylation was first demonstrated in 2005 when PetroChina retrofitted an existing 65,000 tonne-per-year sulfuric acid alkylation unit at its Lanzhou refinery. In 2013, Chinese independent refiner Deyang Chemical Co. Ltd. constructed the first greenfield 100,000 tonne-per-year Ionikylation unit.
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