STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
This BCC Research study is a follow-up to a previous BCC report published in 2006 focusing on the catalyst regeneration side of the supply chain. Global value demand for catalysts (both fresh and regenerated) will grow 4.8% yearly from the current value of $19.7 billion to $26.1 billion through 2016. This is based on the pressure to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, produce more multifunctional products using less energy, a shift toward higher-value catalyst materials and a reflection of the rising costs of metal actives.
Energy catalysts will see the most growth, while environmental applications will reap the benefits of the drive toward greener and cleaner processes and a reduction in the amount of waste handled and spent catalyst material sent to landfill. Polymerization catalysts will also experience growth as a result of the advancements made in the catalyst technology leading to the production of newer and improved performance polymers.
This study looks at the catalyst regeneration business and touches upon the recycle and reuse of spent catalyst material. It presents historical demand data for 2005 and 2010, estimates for 2011 and projects forwards to 2016. It reviews the main regeneration markets of refineries, chemical applications and flue/waste treatment systems. It reports on market sectors, reviews latest technology developments, provides a regional perspective and explains the options for handling spent catalyst.
Market shares and the catalyst regeneration management services provided by leading and active players such as Eurecat, Porocel, Tricat, CoaLogix, STEAG Energy Services, Haldor Topsøe, Albemarle, Ebinger and Johnson Matthey are profiled. The report looks at how regulations have impacted the industry especially with respect to cleaner fuels and reduced emissions. It also assesses the impact of rising raw material prices, tight supply and demand curves, the continuing fragility of the economy in many countries around the world and the role that regeneration catalyst plays in alleviating these constraints and reducing the cost for catalyst users.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
Since the last review of this market, the world economy has suffered one of the worst financial meltdowns ever experienced. Developed world economies stalled and contracted, while growth in developing nations slowed but continued to demand raw material to meet their growth strategies. Both fresh and regenerated catalysts have an important role to play as economies recover with regeneration activities benefiting from tightened operation costs as owners look to ride out the recession.
As a result of the tougher legislation and the need for refineries to meet the new fuel legislation, growth in fresh catalyst demand is predicted to be higher than regeneration in value terms with a CAGR of 5.0% forecast from 2011 to 2016 compared to regeneration at 3.8% over the same period.
Recycle and reuse of spent catalyst material will continue and will remain the largest outlet for this type of material; however, regeneration activities will continue to prosper at refineries and from the growing usage of selective catalyst regeneration units to control and reduce the harmful emissions from flue gas exhaust, especially those of coal-fired power plants.
Rising raw material costs will favor the economics of regeneration over landfill, meaning that it will gain market share in volume terms but value-wise it will hold steady as fresh catalyst is expected to rise faster in price due to the newer and higher performing catalysts that carry a premium price.
The use of more renewable feedstock and so-called dirtier feedstock (e.g., low-grade coal or heavy oil) will impact the regeneration market, as regeneration is usually only successful on spent material that has been used in streams with very little impurities rather than streams that contain catalyst poisons that could and would permanently damage and deactivate catalyst-active sites. Unlike the SCR segment where active metals are reimpregnated as part of the regeneration process, in the refinery segment the catalysts are cleaned up and transformed back to oxides ready for presulfiding within the reactor before recommencing operations.
Regeneration and reuse of spent catalysts will offer chemical producers, power plant operators, petroleum refiners and catalyst manufacturers the flexibility to meet international agreements for cleaner products.
Together, the catalyst regeneration and metal reclamation industries help spent catalyst producers in crude oil refineries, power generation and chemical manufacturing control costs and limit future liability in the face of increasing environmental regulations. As has been shown in the past, when product demand drops, catalyst users want to lower their operating costs by promoting the options of regeneration and recycling above disposal.
A change in attitude over the years means that today catalysts are treated as assets rather than as used, once thrown away material. Owners seek the best return on these assets and when regeneration is not feasible or economically viable turning to metal reclaimers to recover and reuse the metal dispersed in the catalyst substrate. Usually the entire value of the catalyst is not just the active metal recovered and redeployed.
However, catalyst users have to balance that driver with the need to conform to the toughest legislation ever on low-sulfur fuels and reduced hazardous waste emissions regulations in many countries today. Even the regions where regulations have been less restrictive are starting to adopt the standards of more developed nations as the concern around the harm that such uncontrolled emissions can do starts to influence and guide government thinking and strategies for development and economic growth.
Lower sulfur regulations have spurred the construction of new hydroprocessing units. Each barrel of hydroprocessing capacity adds new catalyst demand to the market. Today, about 85% of the world’s off-site regenerated catalysts are hydroprocessing catalysts and that percentage is predicted to grow. Regeneration of SCR catalysts will see the fastest growth as the volume of addressable market for regeneration has more than doubled due to the imposition of very low emission levels for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from coal-fired power plants.
The landfill option is often the least preferred today not only because of the ongoing liability surrounding the disposal of the material but the fact that the value of material used has risen sharply making recovery and reuse, if regeneration is a non-starter, much more economically favorable than simply dumping the material underground and not reclaiming the value within.
It is clear that regeneration off-site is a vital part of the industry especially in the sectors of refinery hydroprocessing catalysts, selective hydrogenation catalysts in the petrochemical/specialty chemical market and SCR flue gas emission control catalysts. In combination with regulations deterring catalysts from entering landfills and redirecting spent-catalyst traffic from disposal options to regenerating and reclamation plants, the growth of the industry is positive even if the economic outlook at this time is at its lowest and likely to remain that way for the near term future.
To this end, the study will be useful for the following:
- Marketing managers.
- Senior petrochemical executives.
- Decision makers from international governments.
- Process licensors and engineering contractors.
- Plant and operations directors.
- Engineering and technology manufacturers and providers.
- Process and technology support advisors.
- Petrochemical and refining management specialists.
- Logistical, supply chain and e-business specialists.
- Corporate, project and trade finance specialists
- Strategic planners and forecasters.
- New product and business developers.
- Decision makers from the chemical and energy industries/end users (oil, gas, petrochemical, fertilizer and chemical companies).
- Automotive companies.
- Trade associations.
- Environmental consultants.
- Equipment manufacturers and process designers.
- Hydrogen plant manufacturers and equipment support companies.
- Venture capitalists, those involved in research and development work and academic institutions.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
Meeting rising energy requirements and protecting the environment are among the most important applications of catalyst technology. Broadly speaking, a catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction by reducing the required activation energy, but is left unchanged by the reaction.
As was the case in the previous review the petroleum industry remains the largest single user of regenerated catalysts, especially in hydroprocessing to produce refined products such as gasoline and low sulfur diesel fuel.
Both fresh and regenerated catalysts contribute to enlarging the petroleum supply by making it commercially possible to produce oil from sources that were once regarded as uneconomical such as tar sands and heavy oil deposits. With the easier, sweeter, cleaner oil less available, these more abundant dirtier crudes are being refined, and the challenges facing the refiner and its catalyst partners are increased.
Regenerated catalysts are indispensable to many types of environmental remediation, from power plant emissions control systems to industrial effluent and municipal waste treatment. As will be shown, regenerated catalysts contribute indirectly to reducing costs since they can be significantly cheaper than fresh catalysts and yet be almost as active. In addition, regenerated catalysts can be less prone to production of unwanted by-products, such as sulfur trioxide (SO3), in flue gas streams because the regenerated process reduces the sulfur dioxide (SO2) to sulfur trioxide conversion (i.e., lowers the sulfur dioxide oxidation activity).
This report provides an understanding of how the regenerated catalyst business contributes to meeting the energy needs of the world economies, while at the same time, helping reduce the costs associated with preventing environmental degradation and remediation of adverse environmental impacts as they occur.
The study is divided into a number of sections and covers regenerated catalyst use in the following:
- Processing of crude oil (including nonconventional sources such as tar sands and heavy oil reservoirs).
- Chemical and petrochemical synthesis.
- Flue gas and waste treatment.
The catalyst regeneration business is important for the following reasons:
- Increases profitability for spent catalyst producers.
- Avoids or reduces environmental damage.
- Prolongs the lifetime and activity of a number of important catalyst families.
- Promotes the development of green processes and green chemistry that are environmentally friendly.
- Mitigates or remediates adverse environmental impacts after they occur.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
The insight and analysis contained within this report are based on information gathered from a cross section of fresh and regenerated catalyst developers, manufacturers, end users and other informed sources. Primary interview data was combined with secondary information gathered through an extensive review of published literature such as trade magazines, trade associations, company literature, conference material, patented technology, social media sites and online databases to produce the baseline market estimates contained in this report and building on the data collected in the previous review
With 2005 and 2010 as baselines, changes within each application were discussed and projections for each segment were developed for 2011 through 2016. Key findings were summarized, as well as tested, confirmed and debated with key contacts in the industry. BCC Research understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective enabled the extraction and discussion of major developments and the subsequent impact on the markets.
The analytical methodologies used to generate market estimates are based on a projection of world economy, world trade and technology developments. All dollar projections presented in this report are based on 2011 constant dollars.
John Joe Harkin is a Ph.D. chemist who graduated from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, and is an independent business intelligence consultant. He has 20 years of experience providing business insight to a range of companies in the chemical and related industries. The majority of his industrial career was spent supporting business development activities on a global basis within a specialty firm that was active in many. He is also the co-author of BCC Report CHM039B Oilfield Process Chemicals: Global Markets.
Ronald van Rossum has more than 24 years of experience providing information management services to the chemical industry. For 10 years, he was a global information manager, delivering a wide range of services to a global specialty company. He is an expert information searcher and speaks several languages. He is also the co-author of BCC Report CHM039B Oilfield Process Chemicals: Global Markets.
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The information developed in this report, is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is of a speculative in nature. The authors assume no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or from its use.