State-of-the-art Catalytic Science Supports the Desulphurization of Heavy Crudes & Diesel

Reduce fuel sulphur levels to nearly 0%

State-of-the-art Catalytic Science Supports the Desulphurization of Heavy Crudes & Diesel
Miranda Stahn
July 4, 2022

For decades, discussions surrounding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have centred around one significant culprit, carbon. Singling out this critical actor is not unwarranted, with just this single actor contributing approximately 76% of global GHG emissions. But we cannot forget some seemingly small contributors significantly impact our overall effort to become more environmentally sustainable.  

Sulphur-based compounds, primary sulphur oxides, negatively impact human and environmental health, contributing to long-term health issues such as asthma and increasing the occurrence of phenomena such as acid rain. To attenuate these, governments introduced strict regulations regarding the sulphur content of fuels before the pandemic. For instance, sea-bearing vessels were banned from using fuel with 3% sulphur and are now being required to buy a product with a maximum sulphur level of 0.5% unless they installed some sort of scrubber system. As fuel consumption decreased in response to stay-at-home orders and bolstering domestic supply chains, the enforcement of these regulations was delayed. That is not the case anymore, the resumption of expected travel and trade patterns call for increased fuel consumption, and rules are kicking in. The desulphurizing of fuel is critical; fuels need to burn cleaner and have a less environmental impact.

NanosTechs' ODESSA (Oxidative DESulfurization-Steam Assisted) Technology is tackling this challenge by marrying its highly adaptive nanocatalyst platform (developed through NOVA) with off-the-shelf processes like Oxidative desulphurization to create a unique method for fuel desulfurization.

Integrating this process into standardized practices is quite appealing to industry, particularly to small to mid-sized refiners which lack the infrastructure and financial means to implement expensive processes like hydrotreating. Due to the added expense of off-site hydrogen production, these processes can cost hundreds of millions. ODESSA solution is far more cost-effective as these necessary off-site hydrogen costs are not required due to the ability to self-generate it via its novel catalyst and steam process.

Additionally, conventional processes like hydrotreating can result in net-increased emissions because of the amount of natural gas required to generate high-temperature and pressure steam needed for implementation. In contrast, the ODESSA process is low heat and low pressure.

ODESSA is significantly more cost-effective and dramatically outperforms competitors, not only getting sulphur levels to near 0% but also enhancing the product so that it can directly go to resale markets.

"Presently, the price differential between an IFO 380 (High Sulphur Fuel Oil) and a VLSFO (Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil) is approximately $400 per metric tonne. Our solution offers a robust return when the differentials are in the range of $150  to $200 per metric tonne, meaning that in today's current commodity environment, users will see a return on investment in in less than a year at current price differentials, not mentioning the everyday more reduced market for high sulfur bunker fuels", says Kerri McGrath, VP of Strategic Relations, NanosTech

Moreover, the technology is highly sustainable, easy to implement, and significantly reduces sulphur and net-carbon emissions."NanosTech plans to immediately deploy this technology within the heavy crude and diesel markets. Still, as the energy transition continues to gain traction, they plan to customize their technology to end-user needs, targeting pyrolysis-derived biofuels and other renewables.

"We've successfully validated our process in several different  feedstocks. We have also seen residual partial upgrading effects, further enhancing the value of the post-processed feedstock . We have shown that we can take off-spec fuels and bring them in-spec." says Kerri McGrath, VP of Strategic Relations, NanosTech.

For more information, contact Kerri McGrath on LinkedIn or