Hydrotreating of heavy gas oil using mesoporous materials supported NiMo catalysts

The sulfur and nitrogen containing compounds present in crude oil, needs to be removed before downstream catalytic processing of crude oil because (i) sulfur is known to be poisonous for catalyst and (ii) to meet stringent environment regulations. The most widely used process for sulfur and nitrogen removal is hydrotreating. Hydrotreating is a catalytic process at high temperature of 350-400 °C and moderate pressures of 1200-1400psi. The conventional catalyst used for hydrotreating is Ni or Co and Mo or W supported on .-Al2O3. The majority of petroleum reserves in Canada are in Oil sands. The oil sands bitumen derived heavy gas oil contains higher amount of sulfur and nitrogen contents (~3.5-4 wt.% S and 0.3-0.4 wt.% N). Consequently, hydrotreating catalysts with improved activity and selectivity are needed to meet the stricter sulfur specifications & quality of transportation fuels. Therefore, in recent years, the research is primarily focused on to increase the activity of catalyst and significant improvements have been achieved by changing the type of support materials. Various support materials such as Zeolites, SBA-15, metal oxides (ZrO2), mesoporous silica-alumina, etc has been tested for hydrotreating catalyst. Out of various support materials, mesoporous material has drawn most of the attention because of ordered structures, high pore diameter, high surface area and stable structural properties. Therefore, the main focus of our research group is to develop novel mesoporous catalyst for hydrotreating reactions to address the challenge faced by industries to meet the current environmental regulations

This project therefore includes the synthesis of mesoporous metal oxides (TiO2 and Al2O3) and used them as a support material for NiMo hydrotreating catalyst. The bitumen derived heavy gas oil will be used as feedstock and the hydrotreating reactions will be carried out in continuous trickle bed reactor at industrial conditions. The support material and catalysts will be characterized using various techniques such as X-ray diffraction, Fourier transformed-infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Temperature programmed desorption/reduction, BET and TEM. The catalytic activity will then be systematically related to the textural and morphological properties.

Faculty Supervisor:

Ajay Dalai


Vaidish Sumaria



Engineering - chemical / biological



University of Saskatchewan



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