Solid acid catalysts in heterogeneous n-alkanes hydroisomerisation for increasing octane number of gasoline

As the current global environmental concerns have prompted regulations to reduce the level of aromatic compounds, particularly benzene and its derivatives in gasoline, hydroisomerisation of n-alkanes is becoming a major alternative for enhancing octane number. Series of solid acid catalysts comprising of Freidel crafts, zirconias, MoO3-based (MOB), chlorinated Al2O3, heteropoly acids and bifunctional zeolite based catalysts have been tested in this respect. This paper reviewed important studies conducted on these catalysts with the aim of identifying areas requiring further investigation(s). Freidel craft catalysts are currently abandoned due to corrosion and disposal problems. MOB and heteropoly acids have good resistance to nitrogen and sulphur in a reaction stream but have poor thermal stability, difficult to regenerate and with mechanism their action only partly resolved. Bifunctional zeolites on the other hand are increasingly becoming promising catalysts due to resulting high acidity, activity and easy regeneration properties. Both solid and gaseous acid modifiers could similarly modify their textural characteristics. The activities of all catalysts could under uncontrolled conditions lead to side reactions such as cracking, aromatisation and dehydrogenation.

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