More than 80 experienced scientists and engineers work in our technology centres in Houston, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Bangalore, India.
High-throughput experimentation techniques are well established at all three sites, which together can boast access to over 100 catalyst process pilot plants for research and development, and customer technical service purposes. The success of our technology programmes is best illustrated by the fact that new products introduced over the past five years account for most of our catalyst sales.
Our principal hydrotreating catalyst platforms, SENTRY™, ASCENT™ and CENTERA®, are used in a variety of hydrotreating processes under a wide range of process conditions. Customised catalyst systems based on combinations of these platforms are notably enabling refiners to meet the most stringent ULSD specifications while producing more diesel of higher quality from increasingly difficult feedstocks.
The zeolites for Criterion’s hydrocracking catalysts are made by Zeolyst International, a joint venture formed in 1988 with silica and zeolite specialist, PQ Corporation. Research conducted by Criterion and Zeolyst has resulted in a series of hydrocracking catalysts, recognised for their selectivity and good balance of activity and stability which results in long run lengths and slow yield declines.
Much of our recent development work in the hydrocracking area has focused on highly flexible, tailored catalysts that enable refiners to swing between distillate and gasoline production to take account of seasonal product demand shifts. We also have catalysts for more difficult feeds, such as deasphalted oil, heavy coker gas oil, thermally cracked gas oils and the cycle oils from FCC units.
As demand for gasoline and diesel increases, and sustainability issues continue to dominate, dealing efficiently with the bottom of the barrel has moved to the top of the refining industry agenda. How much value refiners can extract from residue is now a major influence on overall refinery economics.
Criterion is a major supplier of catalysts for both ebullated- and fixed-bed residue units. We are world-leading in ebullated-bed catalysts, not least because of the advances we have made in sediment control. We also have catalysts for fixed-bed units. Here our research is aimed at raising residue conversion levels and being able to process heavier feeds without sacrificing cycle length.