Spent Hydroprocessing Catalyst Recycling

The recycling of spent catalyst is an area that for a long period of time had kept a very low profile. One of the areas under scrutiny is catalyst turnaround, including the loading of the new catalyst, discharge and recycling of the spent catalyst.

Metal prices were favourable and although returns were small in comparison to earnings from oil production, the spent material had a positive value, buyers were readily available and the disposal of the spent catalyst was not a cause for concern. However, the importance of environmentally sound recycling options has grown significantly in recent years due to the pressure both legislatively and environmentally.

Satisfying national and international requirements

National and international requirements for spent catalyst generators have forced refiners to comply with increasingly restrictive legislation.Spent Hydroprocessing Catalyst Recycling

This situation has now been exacerbated by the downturn in the metal markets worldwide. For example, from 2003 until 2013 the price of Molybdenum, the main metal of value in HDS catalyst, remained above $10 per lb, peaking at over $45 per lb in 2004.

Offering Something Different

But since the end of 2013, the price has fallen to below $ 5 per lb and despite the recent recovery to above $8 per lb the future remains unclear.

The major usage for Molybdenum is in the steel industry and due to the downturn in the steel market, particularly in China, supply far outstrips demand and until the industry recovers prices are likely to remain low.

At these low prices, we have recently witnessed a number of spent catalyst recycling facilities being unable to make a profit and choosing to exit the market. In some cases, the decision has been to mothball their facilities in the hope of re-entering the market at a later date but others have been forced into permanent closure. Spent catalyst has gone from being an easily traded by-product to something of little or no value leaving refiners with fewer and fewer options and even having to consider landfill rather than recycling.

The only answer

In our opinion, there should only be one answer – recycling. In a world of declining natural resources, sustainable resource management through recycling must be the chosen path wherever possible.

We understand that landfilling what in most cases is classified as hazardous waste, may in the short term save some costs but it can also have a negative impact on the industry, particularly if an acceptable recycling alternative is available. But how can the refiner make an informed decision if they are not in possession of all the facts required to make the decision and do not have the necessary know-how to act upon it?

Finding the right solution

We believe that the solution is to partner with a company whose business is not oil refining but is in recycling and who have the knowledge, experience and understanding required.

We at London Chemicals & Resources Ltd have over 10 years of experience in offering generators of spent catalyst customised solutions for their spent catalyst.

For more about us, please click here.

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Contact Us

If you would like to speak to someone directly about our spent hydroprocessing catalyst recycling services, please call us on +44 (0)20 7183 0651 or visit our contact page, or contact us via LinkedIn and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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