Cleaner gasoline technology

BP has unveiled a breakthrough in gasoline desulphurisation technology that could significantly reduce the cost of producing low-sulphur gasolines to meet current and future environmental legislation. The process, named the OATS process (or Olefinic Alkylation of Thiophenic Sulphur) produces gasoline blendstocks containing less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur, significantly below the levels required by current and most anticipated future legislation. The process, developed at a cost of some USD 10 million primarily at BP’s research centre at Naperville, Illinois, USA, will soon be tested at a commercial scale. Small-scale trials are under way at BP’s Texas City refinery in the USA and a larger-scale trial has been carried out at the Bayern Oil refinery in Bavaria, Germany, a joint venture refinery between BP, Agip and Veba. If the trials continue to prove successful, up to seven units using OATS could be installed in BP’s refineries before 2003. The OATS process is able to cut sulphur content to to below 10 ppm, while consuming only low amounts of expensive hydrogen and without significantly reducing the octane rating.

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