Light Olefins Cracking by ZSM-5 Prepared from Oxidized Disulfide Oil Refinery Waste

  • Mohammad Al Rebh

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Saudi Aramco is investigating the potential use of oxidized disulfide oil (ODSO), a refinery waste, as a solvent to replace water in zeolite preparation for the implication in industrial processes such as Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FCC) aiming to increase propylene production. Utilizing ODSO helps Saudi Aramco reduces its processing costs, creates a value for this solvent and reduces the zeolite synthesis cost. One major concern is the effect ODSO may have on the catalytic performance of the prepared zeolites. This study investigates the catalytic cracking of 1-hexene and 2-methyl-2-butene (2M2B) at various WHSV and temperatures over ZSM-5 catalysts prepared from gels with SiO$_2$/Al$_2$O$_3$ ratios (SAR) of 50 and 25 and various ODSO/water substitutions. Six ODSO-based ZSM-5 catalysts were prepared and characterized in terms of acidity, morphology, and textural properties. The impact of catalyst composition and properties on conversion and selectivity is examined and compared to commercial ZSM-5 catalysts with similar SAR (CBV2314 and CBV5524G). At 477 h$^{-1}$ WHSV, ODSO-based catalysts achieved 80% 1-hexene conversion with 53-60% propylene selectivity, outperforming commercial catalysts (52%). However, 2M2B cracking exhibits slower reaction rates and more oligomerization cracking, resulting in lower conversion (46-61%) and propylene selectivity (22-29%). Notably, MAR- 2-3 (30% ODSO, 50 SAR gel) shows the best performance among the ODSO catalysts in terms of stability and selectivity, with results comparable to the commercial catalysts. We noticed, on the other hand, that ODSO-based catalysts possess larger crystals and higher acid site density compared to the commercial catalysts leading, generally, to a decreased stability. These findings enhance understanding of waste-based zeolites in catalytic cracking processes and guide the development of improved ODSO-based catalysts for petrochemical applications.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJavier Ruiz Martinez (Supervisor)


  • Light Olefins Cracking
  • ZSM-5
  • Refinery Waste

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