Catalyst dilution for improved performance of laboratory trickle-flow reactors
Review articleOpen access

AbstractThe low linear liquid velocities in laboratory bench-scale reactors can give rise to flow maldistribution and hence to inefficient use of the catalyst bed. For testing catalysts in their original size and shape at practical space velocities under trickle-flow conditions dilution of the catalyst bed with small inert particles is advocated. The great merit of this bed dilution technique is demonstrated from residence time distributions determined with the help of radiotracers under practical conditions of deep denitrogenation of a vacuum distillate feed. As a result of the addition of small particles axial dispersion is reduced substantially, to the extent that oil plug-flow can be assumed in virtually all practical circumstances. The much higher liquid hold-up in the diluted beds leads to improved wetting and utilization of the catalyst particles as was demonstrated for deep denitrogenation (>99 % nitrogen removal) of a vacuum distillate feedstock under practical conditions.

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