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Estimation of catalyst activity profiles and deactivation parameters from reactor operating data with applications to naphtha reforming


Hsu, George Chi (1972) Estimation of catalyst activity profiles and deactivation parameters from reactor operating data with applications to naphtha reforming. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9RNN-8952.


Techniques are developed for estimating activity profiles in fixed bed reactors and catalyst deactivation parameters from operating reactor data. These techniques are applicable, in general, to most industrial catalytic processes. The catalytic reforming of naphthas is taken as a broad example to illustrate the estimation schemes and to signify the physical meaning of the kinetic parameters of the estimation equations. The work is described in two parts. Part I deals with the modeling of kinetic rate expressions and the derivation of the working equations for estimation. Part II concentrates on developing various estimation techniques.

Part I: The reactions used to describe naphtha reforming are dehydrogenation and dehydroisomerization of cycloparaffins; isomerization, dehydrocyclization and hydrocracking of paraffins; and the catalyst deactivation reactions, namely coking on alumina sites and sintering of platinum crystallites. The rate expressions for the above reactions are formulated, and the effects of transport limitations on the overall reaction rates are discussed in the appendices. Moreover, various types of interaction between the metallic and acidic active centers of reforming catalysts are discussed as characterizing the different types of reforming reactions.

Part II: In catalytic reactor operation, the activity distribution along the reactor determines the kinetics of the main reaction and is needed for predicting the effect of changes in the feed state and the operating conditions on the reactor output. In the case of a monofunctional catalyst and of bifunctional catalysts in limiting conditions, the cumulative activity is sufficient for predicting steady reactor output. The estimation of this cumulative activity can be carried out easily from measurements at the reactor exit. For a general bifunctional catalytic system, the detailed activity distribution is needed for describing the reactor operation, and some approximation must be made to obtain practicable estimation schemes. This is accomplished by parametrization techniques using measurements at a few points along the reactor. Such parametrization techniques are illustrated numerically with a simplified model of naphtha reforming.

To determine long term catalyst utilization and regeneration policies, it is necessary to estimate catalyst deactivation parameters from the the current operating data. For a first order deactivation model with a monofunctional catalyst or with a bifunctional catalyst in special limiting circumstances, analytical techniques are presented to transform the partial differential equations to ordinary differential equations which admit more feasible estimation schemes. Numerical examples include the catalytic oxidation of butene to butadiene and a simplified model of naphtha reforming. For a general bifunctional system or in the case of a monofunctional catalyst subject to general power law deactivation, the estimation can only be accomplished approximately. The basic feature of an appropriate estimation scheme involves approximating the activity profile by certain polynomials and then estimating the deactivation parameters from the integrated form of the deactivation equation by regression techniques. Different bifunctional systems must be treated by different estimation algorithms, which are illustrated by several cases of naphtha reforming with different feed or catalyst composition.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Gavalas, George R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:16 December 1971
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04182016-100200035
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9676
Deposited On:18 Apr 2016 18:17
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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