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Leveraging Innovation in Catalyst Technology for Cleaner Energy Solutions

Learn how our talented experts have helped refiners use modern catalyst technologies in a new era of environmental challenges.

By David McNamara on Nov 06, 2019

Leveraging Innovation in Catalyst Technology for Cleaner Energy Solutions

Shell has a rich history of being first to market with the latest innovations that have helped modernize the energy industry. Our talented scientists, engineers, and industry leaders enable customers to readily increase their ROI, enhance productivity, meet ever more stringent environmental legislative specifications and drive growth and profitability. In that regard, a couple of catalyst-based technology solutions stand out for me as examples of how Shell has helped refiners rise to the environmental challenges laid before them.  

The Enduring Impact of the Integrated Catalyst + Reactor Internals Solution

The refining industry is now well into its 3rd era of producing ever cleaner transportation fuels (and principally ULSD therein) in line with more stringent environmental regulations. Development and on-time deployment of innovative catalyst technologies such as CENTINEL, ASCENT, CENTINEL GOLD, and CENTERA & CENTERA GT continue to play a pivotal role in helping refiners meet these on-going challenges without the need for major investment in revamps or grassroots units.

Maximizing the utilization of these state-of-the-art catalyst solutions to maximize their performance benefits is ensured with the retrofit installation of Shell’s market-leading reactor internals as part of an integrated package. The testament to the success of this integrated solution is its sustained growth in terms of the number of applications spanning the entire range of hydro-processing units. A customized approach by owner-operators in designing both the catalyst and reactor internal integrated solution has also proved to be a major differentiator in this area.

Learn more about our Refining Catalysts

Truly Innovative Residue Upgrading Customized Catalyst Solutions

Following closely on the heels of the ULSD wave, refiners have had to face up to the heavy oil Upgrading challenge. This is the higher conversion of the bottom of the barrel to produce more and cleaner transportation fuels while simultaneously reducing the fuel-oil footprint with lower emissions of greenhouse gases.

In this case, also innovative residue upgrading hydroconversion catalyst technologies from Shell are providing refiners with drop-in solutions customized and developed using the 4Cs (Chemistry, Composition, Conditions, Catalyst) approach. Their key functionalities of higher coke tolerance and high bottoms hydrogen uptake selectivity provide the balance for refiners to effectively maintain the macromolecules balance in the feed as the conversion is increased -- thereby controlling the cycle-limiting adverse effects of fouling buildup in key hardware.

More recently, with the advent of International Maritime Organization’s legislative mandate of decreasing sulfur content in marine fuel oil from 3.5 to 0.5 wt.% with the implementation date of 1/1/2020, the heavy oil upgrading challenge has taken on a new slant leading to the higher conversion route becoming an even more economically attractive solution.

Shell’s flexible, customized approach has adapted in tandem whereby process optimization together with the application of the aforementioned innovative residue upgrading catalysts is setting new industry standards as an example of transforming energy together.

Related Article: IMO 2020: Regulations and Solutions for Refiners


When we talk about portfolio marketing at Shell Catalysts & Technologies, we’re inherently referencing a storied background defined by the development of influential technologies and systems that have -- and will continue to -- transform energy. We’re honouring this tradition at Shell by creating more value for the customer than the simple sum of our parts. By integrating solutions and creating comprehensive value, partnered with peerless owner-operator expertise, our customers are able to realize this value in real-time.

It all begins with a progressive sensibility and commitment to innovation leading to more, cleaner energy solutions applied in these times of major energy transition in our industry.

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