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Research in Petroleum Refining & Petrochemicals at KFUPM

Refining & Petrochemical Research at KFUPM Center for Refining and Petrochemicals (CRP) • Established in 1978 • Emphasis on Client-Funded Industrial Research • Current Research Areas: Desulfurization, Alkylation, Cat Cracking, Polymers

Center of Research Excellence in Refining & Petrochemicals (CoRE-PRP) • Established in 2007 by Ministry of Higher Education • Emphasis on catalysis research in olefins, aromatics, polyolefins • Promotion of graduate and post-graduate research KAUST – Center-in-Development in Petrochemicals & Polymers (KAUST-CID) • Established in 2008; Awarded by King Abdullah University for Science & Technology

• Current research areas: aromatics and polyolefins • Promotion of graduate and post-graduate research 2

CRP - Mission & Vision Mission Conduct client-driven research in petroleum refining and petrochemicals areas, which are of strategic importance to Saudi Arabia Vision To be a leading research center in refining and petrochemicals through innovative basic and applied research

CRP - Objectives

Align research activities with national needs; and extend Kingdom’s knowledge base

Develop strategic alliances with national, regional and international institutions

Customer focused R&D activities with interdisciplinary approach and world class facilities

CRP Major Research Areas Refining Research (ongoing projects)  Heavy oil upgrading (FCC and hydroprocessing)  Clean fuels ( reforming catalysts for hydrogen production)  Development of novel FCC catalysts with enhanced propylene production  Performance evaluation of commercial catalysts  Technical services to refining industries  Evaluation of adsorbents for drying of natural gas  Development of FCC additives for enhancing propylene (NSTIP)

Major Research Areas Petrochemicals Research

 Para-xylene via transalkylation of heavy aromatics  Naphtha catalytic cracking to light olefins

 Toluene methylation to: paraxylene or styrene  Metathesis of butenes to propylene

 Dehydrogenation of EB to styrene  Catalysts for LAB Synthesis  Technical services and catalyst screening to petrochemicals industries

Major Research Areas Polymer Research  Development of heterogeneous polyolefin catalysts  Polyolefin characterization and applications  Development of novel polyalphaolefin drag reducing agents  Develop UV stabilizer-based formulations suitable for harsh climatic conditions of the Arabian Gulf region

CRP Manpower       

Sr. Research Engineer Research Engineers Research Scientist s Engineers Scientists Lab Technicians Admin Staff

1 5 10 3 4 6 2

Full time Researchers = 16 Support Staff = 15 Several faculty members & students from Chemistry, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering Departments are team members in our ongoing projects.

Laboratories and Facilities

Laboratories and Facilities


FCC Catalysts Testing Units       

Circulating Riser Unit ASTM-Micro Activity Test (MAT) unit Advanced Catalytic Evaluation (ACE) Unit Circulating Downer Pilot Plant (Grace-Davison) Fixed-bed Flow Reactor for Naphtha cracking Catalyst deactivation units Analytical Support    

Refinery gas analyzers ( FID & TCD GCs) Detailed hydrocarbon analyzer (PIONA) Carbon/sulfur analyzer XRD Analyzer

Major FCC Catalyst Testing Units

Fixed-bed flow reactor system: Naphtha catalytic steam cracking to light olefins

Advanced Cracking Evaluation (ACE): Laboratory scale system for studying FCC catalysts

HS-FCC Process: Basic Development

30 BD Demonstration Plant Overview

• Joint Partnership between KFUPM, with Saudi Aramco, JX Nippon

Comparative Yields: VGO Feed

HS-FCC Process and Yields Flue Gas



More gasoline at same light olefins


Downer Product

Combustion air as lift medium

Lift Line


Gasoline (wt%)



40 Riser

30 20 More light olefins at same gasoline

10 0


Regenerator Air




Light Olefins (wt%)

A 3,000 bbl/day is in the test phase at JX Nippon Mizushima refinery (Process licensors: Axens and Stone & Webster)




For further information: Director, Center for Refining & Petrochemicals Research Institute, KFUPM, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia Telephone: +966-3-860-2029 • Fax: +966-3-860-4509 Email:; Web :

FCC Testing  

Testing Capabilities for FCC

FCC Testing  

Testing Capabilities for FCC