Because of increased global environmental legislation and changes in refined product market demand, refiners are increasingly looking towards Bottom of the Barrel Technologies (BOTB) to produce more value-added refined products. Refiners are placing more emphasis on technologies such as residue & slurry phase hydrocracking, solvent deasphalting (SDA), visbreaking and combinations of these technologies.
These technologies are allowing refiners to build more complex refineries that significantly increase the conversion of crude oil. With the increased conversions, the asphaltenes, petroleum carbon, catalyst residues and metals are even more concentrated in the liquid pitch stream. Refiners must find a market for the liquid pitch stream in order to balance refinery operations. Once converted from a liquid pitch stream into a flowable solid form, the pitch is an excellent fuel for combustion applications in a CFB boiler, gasification or cement kilns. It also allows easier storage and transportation if not used inside the refinery.
As the various BOTB processes greatly differ, the resulting pitch stream also differs from process to process. The pitch stream can pose significant challenges for the solidification process such as:
- Melt temperature.
- Feed temperature.
- Softening point / penetration value.
- Solid impurities.
- Pitch residual Solvent / DAO / UCO levels.
As the leading technology provider for pitch solidification and handling systems, IPCO has supplied numerous steel belt systems that address the above process challenges. Our double belt cooling & flaking technology allows for continuous solidification of liquid pitch stream.