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As a result of the hazardous properties of hydrofluoric acid (HF), HF alkylation has been the subject of much recent controversy (OGJ, Oct. 29, 1990, p. 18).
In 1990, South Coast Air Quality Management District (Scaqmd) Rule 1410, governing HF alkylation, threatened California refiners with the possibility of their HF alkylation units being shut down.
As a result, Ultramar Inc. filed a lawsuit against Scaqmd regarding Rule 1410.
Although the suit has suspended the requirements of the rule for now, the safety and environmental requirements associated with the HF alkylation process continue to drive industry to develop new alkylation technologies. In fact, several major process licensors are well on their way to bringing these new technologies to market.
The new alkylation processes under development center around new, less-harmful catalysts. Although this work is progressing rapidly, an update of the status of some of these new processes will keep refiners abreast of the new options they may soon have for building new alkylation units or retrofitting existing ones.
Haldor Topsoe A/S has developed a new fixed-bed alkylation process.
The company says the process can substitute for both HF and [H.SUB.2][SO.SUB.4] processes. Topsoe's process, which is based on an acid catalyst supported on a solid medium, is being commercialized in collaboration with the M.W. Kellogg Co.
The reactor in Topsoe's new system can be operated continuously, without interruption for catalyst regeneration, reported John W. Ward, Topsoe's manager of engineering sales, at the National Petroleum Refiners Association annual meeting Mar. …