PCI Wins DOE Support for Developing New Process for Making Alkylate, an Expensive Key Component in Reformulated Gasoline
NORTH HAVEN, CT (September 9, 2008) -- Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) announced today that its new fixed bed catalyst process for alkylation has been awarded a competitive Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). Alkylate is the key blending stock for making reformulated gasoline for cleaner combustion and higher efficiency, replacing MTBE which was removed in the U.S. for environmental risks. The PCI technology offers a possible breakthrough in the manufacture of alkylate, offering improved oil refining efficiency, costs, and health safety with the potential over time for reducing the price of gasoline at the pump.
Alkylation is a major refinery process in which light hydrocarbons are converted to a clean-burning, high octane gasoline feedstock. Alkylate is an important, and expensive, component of reformulated gasoline. Alkylate improves combustion, reduces emissions, promotes longer engine life, and enables higher compression ratios for higher fuel efficiency. Replacing MTBE in reformulated gasoline has led to substantial increases in alkylate demand, boosting price premiums and driving higher gasoline prices, especially in summer.
Increasing alkylate capacity is challenging due to environmental, energy and safety issues and costs relating to current production processes (employing liquid sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids). There has long been strong refiner interest in replacing these with potentially lower cost fixed bed catalyst alternatives, but these approaches have been limited by the issues of catalyst poisoning and high regeneration costs.
The PCI reactor system is a new and novel approach to this challenge. Replacing current liquid acid processes with PCI's process offers the potential for improved yield, reduced energy consumption, elimination of liquid acid environmental and safety complications, simplification of plant design and reduced capital and operating costs. It also offers the potential for higher quality alkylate.
Kevin Burns, PCI's President commented,
"Our approach is early-stage and faces challenges, but our Phase I showed it could make a big difference. We look forward to this development, and to the potential of this technology to offer an effective and safe alternative for clean fuel production while helping to reduce the price of gasoline."
For more information, contact: Tony Anderson
Manager, Marketing and Business Development