Image source: US Soybean Export Council (USSEC)
Image source: US Soybean Export Council (USSEC)

Brazilian petroleum refining company Riograndense Petroleum (RPR) has successfully processed 100% soyabean oil in a fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit using technology from state-owned Brazilian Petroleum Corporation (Petrobras).

The catalysts used in the test were from the ReNewFCC range and were produced in partnership with Fábrica Carioca de Catalisadores (FCC) – a joint venture between Petrobras and Ketjen – which produced catalysts and additives for the refining industry, RPR said on 1 November.

“The Petrobras technology licensed to Riograndense will allow us to produce renewables as early as next year while continuing to serve our current product and fuel market,” RPR superintendent director Felipe Jorge said.

The test followed a co-operation agreement signed in May between the three companies with a shareholding in RPR - Petrobras, Brazilian petrochemical operator Braskem and multi-industry firm Ultra.

The agreement provided for the use of the refinery's units to carry out the test with technologies developed by Petrobras' Research, Development and Innovation Center (CENPES).

Following a shipment of 2,000 tonnes of soyabean oil to RPR at the end of October, the industrial test started on 1 November after a maintenance stop to prepare the FCC unit to receive and process the raw material according to CENPES specifications and guidelines.

A second test had been scheduled for June 2024, which would comprise the co-processing of mineral cargo with bio-oil (advanced non-food biomass raw material) to produce propylene, gasoline and diesel, all with renewable content, RPR said.