Raman Scattering Sensor for Control of the Acid Alkylation Acid Process in Gasoline Production

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Process Instruments, Inc.
825 North, 300 West, Suite 225
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


78230S In the production of gasoline, refineries currently monitor acid strength via titration techniques once or twice per shift, which results in running higher-than-optimal acid concentrations to ensure that the process proceeds uninterrupted. This project will develop a reliable in situ method using Raman scattering technology to continually monitor the acid concentration. The approach will be based on similar technology that was developed for the determination of other gasoline properties. In Phase I, a Raman fiber-optic probe will be installed directly into the acid stream, and the optimum excitation wavelength to create the best signal-to-noise ratios will be determined. A chemometric model for predicting the acid concentration in real time will be created, and the results will be compared to conventional titration techniques to demonstrate that the in situ Raman analysis accurately determines that sulfuric acid concentration. Phase II will involve monitoring additional parameters in the alkylation unit, such as saturate/olefin ratios or octane rating and RVP of the finalized alkylate product. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The continuous sensor should significantly reduce the need for excess acid concentration, which costs millions of dollars annually for each refiner. The technology also could easily be applied to many other industries that use sulfuric acid and have difficulty controlling or monitoring its concentration.