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10.07.2018 Fluidization in Catalysis

The first largescale commercial plant using fluidized bed was developed by Winkler for gasifying the fine-grain coal. The process was patented in 1922. The first plant was 13 meters high with cross-section 12 m2 and was successfully operated, starting 1926. Winkler gasifiers were built mainly in Germany and Japan for production of syngas for the chemical industry. [1]

Before 1940, under the threat of the war outbreakin Europe and the Far East, the chemical engineers in the USA were forced to develop new methods of kerosene and light oil processing to meet the future huge demand for aviation gasoline. Thus, the development of fluidization for production of motor fuel components started. Currently, the fluidization technology is applied for catalytic cracking process at large refineries. [2]

Development and improvement of synthetic rubber production technology was the second important and operationally required process. At that time the Houdry process was employed, starting 1937. However, no sharp increase of production was offered by the process as the fixed bed of the catalyst was used and periodic shutdowns for regeneration were required.

Modification was considered necessary which resulted in a new process configuration including reactor and regenerator with two fluidized beds of large catalyst granules transported from one section to another by bucket conveyor (early gasifier) or by pneumatic conveying (modern gasifier).

Owing to above initial achievements, the fluidization attracted a great interest. Many emerging processes were patented and recorded in the literature. In the 1960-s, the process of monomer production for synthetic rubber applications via butane dehydrogenation was actively developed in our country. The first stage of above process employed a fluidized bed technology for the dehydrogenation process.

Currently, the scientific and commercial experience gained over decades, has given great impetus to the development and improvement of the process. KATALIZATOR JSC is engaged in manufacturing of high-performance dehydrogenation catalyst and succeeded not only in classifying the much of the operational background of the process, but also in offering updated solution approaches which are covered by 9 Russian patents.


1. Kunii D., and O. Levenspiel, Fluidization Engineering (Moscow: Khimiya, 1976). — 448 p.

2. Davidson J.F., D. Harrison, Fluidization. Transl. from English. / ed. by N.I. Gelperin (Moscow: Khimia,1974). - 728 p.

Author: Aleksey Kreiker

Editors: Galina Yastrebova, Anatoliy Sobolev, Anastasiya Tarasenko