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Honeywell Introduces New Liquid Alkylation Technology for Cleaner-Burning, High-Octane Fuels

Honeywell has introduced the refining industry’s first new liquid alkylation technology in 75 years. Chevron Corp. developed the technology and has licensed it to Honeywell under the brand name ISOALKY™This is important to Honeywell and its customers because, as stricter emissions standards come into use all over the world, internal combustion engines must produce lower amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and other pollutants. This is especially critical in heavily populated cities, where air quality poses a persistent and growing health threat.

The ISOALKY technology uses ionic liquids— essentially liquid salts— as a catalyst to produce the alkylate necessary to make cleaner-burning, high-octane motor fuels. The technology provides an alternative to traditional processes that require hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids.

“Ionic liquids alkylation offers a compelling economic solution compared to conventional liquid acid technologies, while delivering the same yields and high levels of octane,” said Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “This is a revolutionary new technology for refiners to produce alkylate and improve the quality of their gasoline pool.”

The technology’s ionic liquids process can be used in new refineries, as well as existing facilities. Ionic liquids have strong acid properties, enabling them to perform like acid catalysis, but without the volatility of conventional acids. The process to convert them into catalysts produces negligible vapor pressure and can be regenerated on-site, resulting in a lower environmental impact compared to other technologies.

Adoption of ISOALKY technology can have a significant effect on global production of clean fuels. Currently, more than half of the world’s approximately 700 refineries have alkylation units that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid to produce fuels.