HP Green R&D Centre

Undefined
Image: 

HPCL set-up its prestigious ‘HP Green R&D Centre’ in Bengaluru, India with an objective to develop innovative & path breaking technologies and products. The Centre was set-up in eastern fringes of Bengaluru, the garden city of India, and is located 15 km from ITPL / Whitefield. The R&D centre currently has 7 state of the art laboratories in the areas of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), Hydroprocessing, Catalysis, Bioprocesses, Crude Evaluation & Fuels Research, Analytical, and Nano Technology in the Phase - I while Phase-II expansion which is in progress will have state of the art laboratories in the areas of Petrochemical & Polymer, Engine and Tribology laboratories.

Green Features of R&D Centre

The architecture of the R&D centre includes several green and sustainable features with compliance to GRIHA (Green Rating in Integrated Habitat Assessment) 5 Star, IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) Platinum, Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and National Building Code (NBC). Green & regional materials viz. Fly ash brick, Low VOC paints & Sadarhalli stone have been used to reduce carbon footprint. The centre features Green cover for reduced heat island effect (heating of atmosphere) and increased water percolation. The buildings are designed to reduce energy consumption by use of natural day light, reduced dependence on artificial light. To reduce energy consumption, air conditioning by heat recovery from return air (heat recovery wheel) has been incorporated. The centre also has 330 kW capacity Solar PVs to reduce demand on conventional energy.

Major Research Activities

The main objective of HPCL R&D center is to provide support to the refineries and marketing divisions for operational improvement, absorb new technologies, develop innovative & path breaking technologies and on the long run license technologies and become a knowledge hub.

The key areas of research identified by HPCL R&D are:

  • Providing support to do trouble shooting for refinery operations
  • Novel Catalyst development for key refining operations
  • Energy efficient process / technology development
  • Widening Crude oil Basket/Opportunity crudes by evaluating new crudes & improving product blends
  • Residue Upgradation for more valuable products
  • Exploration of alternate energy sources – bio-fuels/hydrogen/solar
  • Studies in modeling & simulation of various refinery processes
  • Process intensification

In short term, HPCL R&D focus would be in the areas of FCCU, Hydro-processing, Crude evaluation and testing, Catalysis and Bio-processes. In the long term, R&D focus will be in the areas such as novel separation processes, process intensification, adsorption and membrane, resid Upgradation, hydrogen, solar energy and biomass conversion.

Research projects on catalysts / additives developments in progress in the areas of FCC, Hydro processing, Diesel maximization, resid upgradation, valorization of Naphtha and other refinery streams and effluent treatment.

HPCL R&D is also focusing in the development of rigorous kinetic models of different units such as Hydro processing, FCC, Vis breaking, effluent treatment for zero discharge.

Apart from in-house projects, R&D is also working in several collaborative projects with various research organizations/Institutes such as IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore etc.

Commerecialized Technologies & Products

HPCL R&D Centre has taken major strides in developing & commercializing novel technologies and products. These innovations led to significant cost benefits and efficiency improvements in the corporation. Some of the major developments include:

HP-HiGAS Technology:

HPCL developed new generation ‘HP-HiGAS’ technology for gas absorption / separation application. The technology is based on ‘Process Intensification’ and intensifies mass transfer through rotating packed bed having high centrifugal process. The first of its kind commercial unit was commissioned at HPCL Visakh Refinery for the process of H2S removal from fuel gas. The existing conventional trayed column (23 mts.) was replaced with 2.5 mts. HiGAS unit achieving size reduction by 10 times. This technology has significant potential for H2S, CO2 absorption from refinery fuel gases and natural gas offshore treatment.

Hydrogen PSA Technology:

Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) is extensively used for purification of Hydrogen from mixture of gases. The technology is offered by very few foreign licensors worldwide and all technical aspects are closely guarded. HPCL developed and commercialized H2PSA technology, and the first unit with 36,000 Nm3/hr capacity was commissioned at HPCL Visakh Refinery producing 99.5% H2 from the CCR off-gas feed. Technology has been developed synergizing knowledge of adsorbents and process sequencing. HPCL is in process for technology licensing to other major refineries in India and abroad.

SprayMax: FCC Feed Nozzle:

Feed Nozzle is a critical hardware component of a FCC unit, which atomizes liquid feed into finer droplets. This helps in enhancing desired vapour phase reaction. These nozzles are supplied by technology licensors only. HPCL developed “SprayMax” nozzles for FCC unit & successfully commercialized at HPCL Mumbai & Visakh Refineries. Concept to commercialization of “SprayMax” nozzles has gone through various stages viz. design conceptualization, Air-water testing with prototype nozzle & CFD study. Advantages are conversion increase by 1-2wt%, improved MoC, suit to site design with minimum hardware modification & short lead time for delivery.

Cat Visbreaking Technology:

HPCL has developed Cat-Visbreaking process for increasing the distillate yield in Visbreaker unit while maintaining stability of fuel oil. Usage of HPCL developed VisCat Catalyst helps in increasing conversion in Visbreaking unit and thereby increases the distillate yield by 2 to 4 wt%. This has been successfully demonstrated at HPCL Visakh Refinery Visbreaker unit. VisCat is a liquid catalyst and easy to implement in existing Visbreaker units with very short payback.

HP FurnOKare:

Furnace tube scaling is a commonly encountered problem in refineries, which over a period of time becomes thick deposits. This reduces the heat transfer efficiency of the tubes & the skin temperature increases to the maximum design temperature. To address this, HPCL developed in-house chemical formulation for online cleaning of furnace tubes for removal of scales without shutting down the unit. The product was successfully demonstrated and implemented at about 25 furnaces of HPCL Mumbai & Visakh Refineries along with MRPL, OMPCL and IOCL-Mathura.

HP Bio-Activa:

HPCL R&D developed a new bio-additive for the treatment of refinery effluent. The newly developed product consists of adapted microbial consortia along with essential nutrients for boosting the microbial activity. The addition of HP-Bioactiva reinvigorates the biological system resulting in reduced levels of BOD, COD, and phenolics. In-house developed bio-additive has been successfully implemented at both HPCL refineries & HMEL Bhatinda which has shown sustained activity even under shock loads of chlorides, sulphurous compounds and ammonia.

HP DUCER:

Fixed bed reactors in refineries are highly prone to plugging issues which lead to increase in pressure drop across the reactors and reduced feed throughput. HPCL’s HPDUCER, provides a solution to the issue of solid deposits in hydroprocessing reactors. The product was successfully demonstrated in DHDS reactors of HPCL Visakh Refinery. Major advantages are its cost effectiveness, longevity and efficiency, which results in reduction in total consumption of the chemical.

HP-CoSol:

HPCL R&D has developed a highly selective HP CoSol process for lube oil yield improvement in Solvent Extraction units. This process uses mixed solvent system comprising of co-solvents along with N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and was implemented at HPCL Mumbai refinery with optimum dosage of mixed solvents. The commercial plant trials resulted significant lube oil yield improvements for 500 N distillate and Deasphated oil operation respectively. The process is highly selective towards removal of Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The PAH reduction was observed to be 2-3 wt% compared to base case in the lube raffinate, which will be useful as blending stock in production of low PAH rubber process oil.

HP-TRAE Process:

HPCL R&D has developed an improved process of HP-TRAE for producing the environment friendly rubber process oils. TRAE-Treated Residue Aromatic extract is one of the aromatic type rubber process oil used in tyre industry. HP-TRAE process is highly selective towards Polycyclic aromatics (PCA) extraction from lube oils. Commercial trials were carried out at Mumbai refinery for the production TRAE grade rubber process oil. HP TRAE process reduces the Poly cyclic aromatic compounds (PCA) by 0.7-0.8 wt% compared to conventional process which results in reduction of overall production cost of rubber process oil. This process also yields 2-3 wt% of more raffinate yields compared to conventional process.

HP-DLA:

Sulphur compounds are natural carriers of lubricity in diesel. However, to meet growing environmental concerns, stringent restrictions are being applied on diesel sulphur levels (50 ppm in BS IV/ Euro IV to 10 ppm in BS VI/Euro VI). As a result, inherent lubricity of diesel is adversely affected which is typically compensated by addition of external additives. HPCL has indigenously developed a new family of additive, HP-DLA. The additive is cost-effective and showed significantly improved activity over conventional additives. HP-DLA has been successfully implemented in HPCL, Visakh & Mumbai refineries. The additive has significant future potential as a gradual move to lower sulphur levels would increase consumption of lubricity additive.

HP-RAZOR:

Oxy-acetylene remains the preferred choice for metal-cutting applications even though it is expensive and difficult to store and handle. The main drawback of other oxy-fuels (such as LPG, natural gas, etc.) is the considerably lower flame temperatures. As a part of its “Make in India” initiative, HPCL has developed a novel LPG additive, HP-IPCA which not only improves flame temperature but also considerably reduces both LPG and oxygen consumption. The additized LPG, HP-RAZOR is significantly cheaper than acetylene and was successfully demonstrated for various metal-cutting applications in RINL, Vishakhapatnam.

HP-CORMIT:

Corrosion is one of the major problems in pipeline transportation, which leads to leakage of gases, fuels and often to major accidents. To mitigate this problem, Corrosion Inhibitors (CI) are injected into pipelines at very low dosage level (ppm) that protects the internal surface of pipeline by forming a protective layer. HPGRDC developed a new family of novel, highly efficient corrosion inhibitors, HP-CORMIT, for fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Gasoline, Diesel, etc. HP-CORMIT has successfully being implemented at HPCL’s MHMSPL (LPG pipeline) since 1 year.

PoWer 99:

There is growing demand for Motor Spirit with high octane rating especially in sports & luxury cars where the fuel needs to withstand high compression ratios. In view of this, HPCL developed and launched high octane motor spirit, poWer 99 in India, which has an octane rating of 99, highest ever in the country. Besides reduced knocking and, poWer 99 also gives better fuel efficiency and produce lesser emissions. The product has been successfully launched in more than 13 cities such as Bengaluru, Vishakhapatnam, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad.

HP-Neutmax:

HPGRDC developed a novel and cost effective neutralizing amine formulations to mitigate overhead corrosion in CDUs & VDUs in refinery. The in-house developed formulations exhibited superior performance in comparison with the commercial additive. Based on the lab data, the best formulations have been scaled up (10 ton) for field trails at CDU and VDU of Vishaka refinery, HPCL. The field trails completed for the period September 2018 to January 2019. The in-house developed additive showed better performance at lower dosages (~25 % reduction) compared to best commercial additive being used in the refinery.

[HP]2 FCC

[HP]2 FCC process is a high propylene FCC technology developed by HP Green R&D Centre (HPGRDC). This technology uses proprietary catalyst formulation and FCC hardware. The proprietary catalyst system of [HP]2 process is tailor made with higher selectivity towards light olefins viz propylene. The yield of propylene is more than 20wt%. The catalyst has been demonstrated at HPCL Mumbai Refinery OFCC unit at 10% inventory change. The process has been demonstrated at laboratory scale. Cold flow hardware has been set-up and hydrodynamics are validated. A hot pilot unit as required for scale of the process has been set-up.

Catalyst Selection:

HPCL R&D has the state of the art research facilities for catering research based services to various refining processes like Hydrotreating, FCC, Reforming, Isomerization and other processes. The centre is equipped with various pilot plants, micro-reactors, analytical equipment and process model which are extensively used during selection of fresh catalyst supplied by the vendors prior to usage in commercial FCC, Diesel hydrotreating, Naphtha hydrotreating units. Till date, R&D has already evaluated more than Ten (10) tender catalysts for various units contributing to value addition of selecting best catalyst. R&D has started offering services for catalyst evaluation to other companies.

Collaborative Projects:

In a concerted effort towards maximizing benefits of Industry-Academia partnership, HP Green R&D centre is actively involved in cutting-edge fundamental and industrial research in collaboration with leading research institutes of India and abroad.