Referring to papers presented earlier in the Congress, the CHAIRMAN introduced the session by stating that the reserves of the materials which formed the feedstocks for the upgrading work to be described were very large indeed. Reserves of petroleum residues are of the order of 10's to loo's of billions of barrels, reserves of bitumens (very heavy crudes and tar sands) are of the order of 100's to 1000's of billions of barrels, and shale oil reserves in the USA alone are 3000 billion barrels. Thus transportation fuels made from these sources will be important supplements to, and eventually substitutes for, fuels made from conventional light petroleum in the next century.
The first paper, presented by K. E. WHITEHEAD, was a summary of the similarities and differences among the three feedstocks in question and typical methods used to process them. Mr. LYON commented that the paper had reviewed a wide range of technologies and pointed out that each technology has its unique set of economic boundaries and technical limitations. He classified the boundaries and limitations into three general categories: high conversion of bottoms, improved selectivity to transportation fuels, and better quality of liquid products.
When conversion of feedstock is not high enough, then large quantities of coke, low-BTU gas, or refractory bottoms from hydroconversion processes must be disposed of. However, no process gives complete conversion, and economic and technical balances must be struck. Similarly some processes can be operated to give very high yields of transportation fuels, but at prohibitive cost. Finally, better product quality could obviate the need for processing downstream of the primary upgrader. These challenges will open the door for new technology and point the way towards future process objectives.
Some solutions to the problems of high conversion will be found in new catalysis, particularly fine particle catalysis like the Intevep process described in this RTD and like the Canmet Process, Veba-Cracking, and Exxon M-Coke. Another area in catalysis is the management of metals effects in catalytic crackers to allow more processing of residuals in those units.
Reactor technology to use new catalysts is being developed. Slurry reactors are needed for fine particle catalysts, and moving-bed trickle-flow reactors will permit continuous removal of catalysts from fixedbed reactors.
Extensions and novel combinat