The Fluid bed reactor for cracking petroleum

The first com­mer­cial cir­cu­lat­ing fluid bed reac­tor, PCLA #1 (Pow­dered Cat­a­lyst Louisiana), went on stream on May 25, 1942, in the Baton Rouge Refin­ery of the Stan­dard Oil Com­pany of New Jer­sey (now Exxon Cor­po­ra­tion). This first use of pow­dered cat­a­lysts in con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion allowed the effi­cient crack­ing of heavy gas oils to meet the grow­ing demand for high-octane fuels. PCLA #1 was dis­man­tled in 1963 after 21 years of suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion. Today, more than 350 fluid bed reac­tors, includ­ing PCLA #2 and PCLA #3, are in use world­wide for the man­u­fac­ture of fuels, chem­i­cal inter­me­di­ates, and plastics.

The cre­ation and devel­op­ment of the flu­idized bed reac­tor sys­tem for cat­alytic crack­ing of petro­leum was a coop­er­a­tive effort that involved many tal­ented sci­en­tists and engi­neers. The group, esti­mated at one thou­sand, rep­re­sented the largest sin­gle con­cen­tra­tion of sci­en­tific effort, up to that time, directed toward a com­mon goal. Later dur­ing World War II, this effort was sur­passed only by the radar and Man­hat­tan projects in the United States.

War­ren K. Lewis and Edwin R. Gilliland obtained patent cov­er­age for the fluid bed idea. Pro­fes­sor Lewis was chair­man of the Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Depart­ment at MIT and was one of the best known chem­i­cal engi­neers in the coun­try. The patent describ­ing the cir­cu­lat­ing cat­a­lyst fluid bed reactor-regenerator named Don­ald L. Camp­bell, Homer Z. Mar­tin, Egar V. Mur­phree and Charles W. Tyson inven­tors, all employed by the Stan­dard Oil Devel­op­ment Co. These patents were licensed to all the mem­bers of the Cat­alytic Research Asso­ciates.
 
From the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety web­site. Read more at ACS Edu­ca­tional Por­tal:
The Fluid Bed Reac­tor
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