Dual role of ferric chloride in modification of USY catalyst for enhanced olefin production from refinery fuel oil

Samira Shirvani, Mohammad Ghashghaee*, Søren Kegnæs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Herein, ultra-stable Y zeolite (USY) catalysts modified with iron doping (1, 3, and 5 wt%) using FeCl3•6H2O as a precursor have been investigated. Detailed characterization of the synthesized catalysts was implemented through different analytical techniques including XRD, FTIR, UV–vis DRS, NH3-TPD, H2-TPR, N2 physisorption, EDX, FESEM, ICP-EOS, and XRF. The strong Lewis acidity of the precursor bestowed improved acidic properties to the parent USY besides a satisfactory partial dealumination of the zeolite structure. The optimal dispersion and structural properties were obtained in the case of 1 wt% doping of iron, which eventually led to superb olefin productivity (more than 56 wt%) in the upgrading of refinery fuel oil at mild operating conditions (atmospheric pressure and 550 °C). The optimum catalyst (1Fe/USY) has undergone further experiments with varying temperatures and space velocities to assess the apparent kinetics based on the Arrhenius model. A threefold increase in the space velocity (from 18.3 to 54.9 h–1) only slightly reduced the olefin productivity of the catalyst (to 47.1 wt%), which was still notable from a heavy feedstock. Reduction of the reaction temperature to 450 °C led to a decrease in the olefins yield to less than a half (23.3 wt%). Overall, the modified catalysts were capable of producing a high amount of light olefins from heavy fuel oil, with an orientation toward propylene as the most favored building block in the petrochemical industries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Catalytic cracking
  • Fuel oil
  • Iron
  • Light olefins
  • USY
  • Zeolite

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