The need of Jet fuels to meet global specifications is a foregone conclusion. Commercial grade jet fuel requires suitable processing, to bring it up to international standards. The sweetening of jet fuel and kerosene using the Merox process with clay bed refining is one of the processes for Aviation Turbine Fuel to meet the required specifications. So let us take a look at the Merox process in detail.
What is the Merox process?
Merox is short for Mercaptan Oxidation. It came into existence in 1958 by UOP, a US-based company from the oil industry. There have been several variations of the process developed over the years to meet the different hydrocarbon refining applications. As caustic can react both with mercaptans and hydrogen sulfide, it gets a preference for the process.
Caustic-based Merox processes are of two types: Sweetening and Extraction. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
● Merox sweetening
Sweetening is a single-stage process through which mercaptans get directly converted to disulfides. It is ideal for heavier hydrocarbons, like jet fuel, kerosene, diesel, and naptha. The reason is that these fuels have longer-chain mercaptans that do not remain soluble in caustic.
There is a need to convert mercaptans to disulfides in a fixed-bed reactor. It should get done in the presence of a Merox catalyst, caustic, and oxygen. Besides this, the other chemical reactions in the sweetening process are no different than the extraction process.
● Merox extraction
Extraction is a two-stage process that involves caustic and oxidation. The process is ideal for cleaning hydrocarbons with lighter molecular weight. These include Natural Gas Condensates (NGL) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The process starts with the removal of H2S. It gets done at the amine treatment unit. If it is not available, caustic pre-washes are common. The process helps in removing sulfur, which is essential to prevent secondary reactions when catalysts get introduced.
Aviation turbine fuel and the Merox process.
Jet fuel and kerosene are sweetened using the Merox process. In this process, clay bed treatment plays a vital role in the purification of ATF. The presence of water and other impurities in aviation fuel can pose a risk and is liable to high maintenance costs for vital aircraft equipment. So, the fuel treating process through clay bed filtration helps in ensuring a clean and dry fuel.
The process helps in removing the traces of water, surfactants, and solid particulates. Besides the separation of impurities, the process also helps in stabilizing the color of the fuel.
The Merox process is essential in the purification of aviation turbine fuel, as this process sweetens the fuel and other distillates. Copia’s CP Jet 100 30/60 (Bentonite/ Attapulgite Clay Granules) and CP Jet 100 B 16/30 (Bentonite/ Attapulgite Clay Granules) aid in the clay bed refining process of aviation turbine fuel. It not only guarantees a better cycle time but also improves the efficiency of the process.
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