June 23, 2021

Configure reactors for optimal performance and ROI with optimal catalyst carriers, support media and bed topping media

Optimizing catalyst reactions for maximum performance and longevity is both an art and a science. Engineers need to utilize the best possible catalysts to achieve the proper reaction for a given application. Beyond that, however, other components in a reactor can play an equally important role in determining process performance.

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Figure 1: Engineers need to utilize the best possible catalysts to achieve the proper reaction for a given application. Source: Adobe Stock

As discussed here, one element critical to performance is the catalyst carrier, the porous “platform” in which reactions take place. In fact, using the right carrier to ensure that the catalysis reaction works optimally, along with proper support and bed topping materials, can benefit chemical processing operations to the tune of millions of dollars per year.

Custom catalyst carriers

To assist customers with procuring the optimal merchant catalyst carrier, Saint-Gobain NorPro stands ready to partner with chemical manufacturers when making their selection. Saint-Gobain NorPro is the largest supplier of merchant catalyst carriers in the world, capable of bringing extensive resources to bear for both custom and off-the-shelf solutions.

Saint-Gobain NorPro can co-develop customized solutions with chemical processors to deliver improved selectivity, activity and lifespan to catalytic processes, often adding millions of dollars to the bottom line of a plant’s operation.

New innovation: Accu® spheres catalyst carriers meet the industry’s growing demand for small diameter spherical catalyst carriers. Accu® spheres feature an average diameter anywhere between 0.3 mm and 4mm with uniform size and can be manufactured with flexible chemistries and pore structures. With this innovation, production operations can expect significantly increased output in fixed reactors, as well as in slurry or moving reactor processes.

In addition to the catalyst carriers, support media and bed topping media are important to an optimally running chemical process. Saint-Gobain NorPro provides both and can function as a one-stop supplier for chemical reaction media.

Support media

While one might be tempted to write off support media as an afterthought, not all media is created equal. Selecting the correct media can positively affect process performance, and Saint-Gobain NorPro is here to help.

Denstone® support media allow the catalyst user to focus on optimizing catalyst and reactor performance. Saint-Gobain NorPro manufacturing processes ensure that the support media will have the same high performance every time.

Saint-Gobain NorPro engineered quality starts at formulation design and raw material selection and continues through process selection and control through the entire manufacturing process. Through this consistent strength, non-reactivity and physical design, Denstone® support media avoids chipping or plugging of the catalyst bed, saving unwanted plant downtime.

Through years of development, Saint-Gobain NorPro has created an extensive range of Denstone® bed support media, including Denstone® 57200099 and its unique Denstone® deltaP® shaped bed support media. This diversity of the Denstone® product line allows processing operations to select the optimum support media to maximize a reactor’s performance, without sacrificing the consistency and quality that Denstone® media provides.

Demonstrations of Denstone® catalyst support can be provided worldwide. Regardless of location, Saint-Gobain NorPro’s manufacturing technologies have been refined to yield the same performance and consistent quality from all three of their regional manufacturing locations throughout the world.

Bed topping media

As the first step in a catalytic process, proper bed topping material is another important element that can increase the performance of a reactor. While Denstone® support material can be used as bed topping media, Saint-Gobain NorPro produces material especially suited for this purpose, such as Pentarings and MacroTrap®.

Pentarings are a dense media, which allow for sufficient hold down capabilities, while still having a high void fraction. This provides a significant reduction in initial pressure drop and acts as a first line of defense from large tramp iron and scale from fouling catalyst beds.

Another unique bed topping media produced by Saint-Gobain NorPro is their MacroTrap® XPore 80 guard bed media. MacroTrap® guard bed media are highly macroporous ceramic materials that work as a filter within the catalyst reactor by trapping particulates and soluble iron in the very large and interconnected pores before they reach the catalyst bed.

MacroTrap® guard bed media provide proven results by avoiding catalyst bed plugging and increased pressure drop. This eliminates premature shutdowns due to pressure drop and extends the life of the catalyst bed.

Between catalyst carriers, support material and dedicated bed topping media, Saint-Gobain NorPro offers a wide range of products that extend catalyst life and increase reactor performance.

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Figure 2: While Denstone® support material can be used as bed topping media, Saint-Gobain NorPro produces material especially suited for this purpose, such as Pentarings and MacroTrap®. Source: Saint-Gobain NorPro

Media selection tools

While selecting the optimum process media can be intimidating, it does not have to be. Saint-Gobain NorPro has developed a variety of tools to help engineers spec out the perfect product for a given process.

Need help finding the perfect catalyst carrier for an application? Just provide preference in material, surface area and pore volume into NorPro’s Catalyst Carrier Selector to obtain options for consideration.

The Denstone® Size Selection Guide tool helps to identify the best support media configuration for a reaction vessel, based on catalyst size, bottom screen opening and total available height for the support media. This tool also shows how the configuration of standard Denstone® spheres compares with Denstone® deltaP® media to help select the best support media for a reactor vessel.

NorPro’s Pressure Drop Estimator tool allows customers to determine the desired pressure drop for an application based on a unit’s operating conditions, and the layers of support media that will be utilized in the bed configuration.

Saint-Gobain NorPro: Helping perfect a process

Saint-Gobain NorPro has been serving the petrochemical, chemical, refining and gas processing industries since its founding as U.S. Stoneware in 1859. Since that time, they have been refining their product offering and capabilities and stand ready to partner with customers to provide customized and off-the-shelf solutions to their process needs.

See Saint-Gobain NorPro’s website for more information on capabilities and product offerings. Contact them to see how they can help establish or enhance a particular catalyst carrier reaction process.