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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