New process produces high-octane alkylate from natural gas derived feedstocks

Petrol pump
Source: DollarPhotoClub

Exelus, Inc. today announced that it has developed M2Alk, a step-out process for the production of alkylate (a high-octane gasoline blendstock) from natural gas derived feedstocks: methanol and mixed butanes.

As car makers move towards higher-compression engines in anticipation of more stringent U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, more alkylate will be needed in the domestic gasoline pool to fuel those higher performance vehicles.

M2Alk process combines butanes, a cheap natural gas liquid (NGL) prevalent in U.S. shale plays, and methanol to generate olefins which are then reacted with iso-butane to produce premium quality alkylate. As shale gas development spreads globally, the Exelus technology will help fill the need for clean alkylate everywhere. Unlike current Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) or Methanol-To-Gasoline (MTG) processes, M2Alk produces a high-octane 100% iso-paraffinic product. The complete elimination of aromatics and olefins and the ultra-low sulfur content of alkylate make M2Alk a unique process for monetizing natural gas world-wide.

Mr. Tom Hickey, Director of Business Development at Exelus, says that the M2Alk process was developed to enable refineries process lighter natural gas derived feeds. At the current US methanol and butane prices, M2Alk produces high-octane alkylate well below current gasoline prices. Additionally, the use of simple adiabatic fixed bed reactors in M2Alk, results in significantly lower capital investment compared to GTL or MTG processes. With M2Alk, Exelus has now developed technologies to produce high-octane alkylate from feedstocks ranging from natural gas, petroleum and bio-mass.

Research on this breakthrough technology continues. Short term catalyst testing has shown consistently high yields and no activity loss. Long term testing and development is expected to continue through mid 2016.

Exelus Inc develops and licenses “cleaner-by-design” technologies to produce chemicals and transportation fuels from natural gas, petroleum and biomass derived feedstocks.

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