A Novel Study of Upgrading Catalytic Reforming Unit by Improving Catalyst Regeneration Process to Enhance Aromatic Compounds, Hydrogen Production, and Hydrogen Purity

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of Chemical Engineering, Shiraz University of Technology, Shiraz, Iran


Catalytic reforming is a chemical process utilized in petroleum refineries to convert naphtha, typically having low octane ratings, into high octane liquid products, called reformates, which are components of high octane gasoline.
In this study, a mathematical model was developed for simulation of semi-regenerative catalytic reforming unit and the result of the proposed model was compared with the plant data to verify accuracy of the model. Then, an extra fixed bed reactor was added for upgrading the semi-regenerative process to cyclic process. The optimal condition of the cyclic process was calculated mathematically. The results show that the proposed configuration is capable to enhance the octane number, yield of product, hydrogen production rate, and hydrogen purity by 1.5%, 7.14%, 8.1%, and 13.2%, respectively. The modifications improve the performance in comparison with the current facilities. The results indicate that aromatic and hydrogen production and hydrogen purity improve in comparison with the semi-regenerative reformatting process. Due to the additional swing reactor, which is a spare one, each of the reactors must be removed for regeneration process and, then, be replaced with a rebuilt one.


[1] Aitani, A.M. (2005). “Catalytic naphtha reforming.” Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing. S. Lee, ed., CRC Press, pp. 397–406. 

[2] Ancheyta-Juarez, J. and Villafuerte-Macias, E. (2000). “Kinetic modeling of naphtha catalytic reforming reactions.” Energy Fuels, Vol. 14 (5), pp. 1032-1037.

[3] Speight, J.G. (2011). “The Refinery of the Future.” 1st Ed., William Andrew Publishing, Boston.

[4] Pregger, T., Graf, D., Krewitt, W., Sattler, C. and Moller, S. (2009). “Prospects of solar thermal hydrogen production processes.” Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 34, pp. 4256- 4267.

[5] Alves, J.J. and Towler, G.P. (2002). “Analysis of refinery hydrogen distribution systems.” Journal of Engineering Chemical Research, Vol. 41 (23), pp. 5759-5769.

[6] Liu, F. and Zhang, N. (2004). “Strategy of purifier selection and integration in hydrogen networks.” Journal of Chemical Engineering Research, Vol. 82, pp. 1315-1330.

[7] D’Ippolito, S.A., Vera, C.R., Epron, F., Especel, C., Marecot, P. and Pieck, C.L. (2008). “Naphtha reforming Pt-Re-Ge/g-Al2O3 catalysts prepared by catalytic reduction influence of the pH of the Ge addition step.” Journal of CatalysisToday, Vol. 131, pp. 13-19.

[8] Iranshahi, D., Pourazadi, E., Paymooni, K., Bahmanpour, A.M., Rahimpour, M.R. and Shariati, A. (2010). “Modeling of an axial flow, spherical packed-bed reactor for naphtha reforming process in the presence of the catalyst deactivation.” Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 35, pp. 12784-12799.

[9] Rahimpour, M.R., Iranshahi, D. and Bahmanpour, A.M. (2010). “Dynamic optimization of a multi stage spherical, radial flow reactor for the naphtha reforming process in the presence of catalyst deactivation using differential evolution (DE) method.” Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 35, pp. 7498-7511.

[10]Zahedi, G.H., Tarin, M. and Biglari, M. (2012). “Dynamic modeling and simulation of industrial naphtha reforming reactor.” Journal of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, Vol. 67, pp. 911-920.

[11] Ramage, M.P., Graziani, K.R. and Krambeck, F.J. (1980). “Development of mobils kinetic reforming model.” Journal of Chemical Engineering Science, Vol. 35, pp. 41-48.

[12] Iranshahi, D., Bahmanpour, A.M., Pourazadi, E. and Rahimpour, M.R. (2010). “Mathematical modeling of a multi-stage naphtha reforming process using novel thermally coupled recuperative reactor to enhance aromatic production.” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 35 (20), pp. 10984-10993.

[13] Benitez, V.M. and Pieck, C.L. (2009). “Influence of indium content on the properties of Pt-Re/Al2O3 naphtha reforming catalysts.” Journal of Catalyst Letter, Vol. 107, pp. 643-650.

[14] Boutzeloit, M., Benitez, V.A., Mazzieri, V.M., Especel, C., Epron, F., Vera, C.R. and Pieck, C.L. (2006). “Effect of method of addition of Ge on the catalytic properties of Pt-Re /Al2O3 and Pt-Ir /Al2O3naphtha reforming catalysts.” Journal of Catalyst Communication, Vol. 7, pp. 627-632.

[15]Mazzieri, V.A., Pieck, C.L., Vera, C.R., Yori, J.C. and Grau, J.M. (2008). “Analysis of coke deposition and study of the variables of regeneration and rejuvenation of naphtha reforming trimetallic catalysts.” Journal of Catalyst Today, Vol. 135, pp. 870-878.

[16] Sugimoto, M., Murakawa, T., Hirano, T. and Ohashi, H. (2006). “Novel regeneration method of Pt/KL zeolite catalyst for light naphtha reforming.” Journal of Applied Catalyst, Vol. 95, pp. 257-268.

[17] Antos, G.J., Aitani, A.M. and Parera, J.M. (1995). “Catalytic naphtha reforming.” Science and technology, Vol. 99, Marcel Decker Inc., New York, pp. 409-436.

[18] Anabtawi, J.A., Redwan, D.S., Al-Jaralla, A.M. and Aitani, A.M. (1991). “Advanced in the chemistry of catalytic reforming of naphtha.” Journal of Fuel Science and Technology, Vol.91, pp. 1-23. 

[19] Berger, C.V., Denny, R.F. and Michalko, E. (1978). “Chemistry of HC platforming.” American Chemical Society, Division of Petroleum Chemistry, Vol. 23, Preprints.

[20] Smith, R.B. (1959). “Kinetic analysis of naphtha reforming with platinum catalyst.” Chemical Engineering Progress, Vol. 55, pp. 76-80.

[21] Bird, R.B., Stewart, W.E. and Lightfoot, E.N. (1960). Transport Phenomena. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York.

[22] Taskar, U. and Riggs, J.B. (1997). “Modeling and optimization of a semiregenerative catalytic naphtha reformer.” AICHE Journal, Vol. 43, pp. 740-753.

[23] Arani, H.M., Shokri, S. and Shirvani, M. (2010). “Dynamic modeling and simulation of catalytic naphtha reforming.” International journal of Chemical Engineering and Applications, Vol. 1 (2), pp.159-164.

[24] Meyers, R.A. (1996). Hand Book of Petroleum Refining Processes. 2nd Ed., McGraw Hill.

[25] Bommannan, D., Srivastava, R.D., Saraf, D.N. (1989). “Modelling of catalytic naphtha reformers.” Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 67 (3), pp. 405-411.

[26] Matar, S., Hatch, L.F. (2000). Chemistry of Petrochemical Processes, 2th Ed., Gulf Publishing Company.

[27] Jess, A., Hein, O. and Kern, C. (1999). “Deactivation and decoking of a naphtha reforming catalyst.” Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis Journal,Vol. 126, pp. 81-88.