The oil refining industry uses hydroprocessing catalysts (HPC) to remove over 99% of contaminants, such as nitrogen and sulfur from fuel oils, contributing to cleaner and more efficient final use fuels. These catalysts typically contain valuable metals such as nickel, cobalt, molybdenum and/or tungsten which can be recycled and used again, provided the secondary materials are of sufficient quality.
However, catalysts’ efficiency decreases over time due to the accumulation of impurities. To address this and save valuable materials, the industry has invested significant resources into developing processes to maximise the lifespan of HPCs, thereby maximising the use of precious resources.
To achieve this, HPCs are first treated for regeneration and reuse. Their lifespan is therefore extended, reducing the need to purchase new catalysts and use new raw materials. Second, HPCs are recycled. When catalysts’ properties no longer meet required standards and their performance cannot be brought up again to the desired level by regeneration, catalysts are recycled. The valuable metals contained in catalysts are recovered and reused for further catalyst preparation or other use.
- The use and reuse of catalysts have helped remove over 50,000 tons of sulfur from diesel fuel over the last 5 years. This greatly improves air quality and helps vehicles to comply with stringent emissions regulations worldwide.
- The reuse of catalysts will increase only if secondary products can be traced and perform to specific norms and standards.
- Without regulation that foresees rules guaranteeing the market availability of high quality and effective secondary products, this is not possible.
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