World's first CTL base oil plant starts production in Shanxi Province, China
Photo courtesy of Shanxi Lu’An Taihang Lubricants.

World’s first CTL base oil plant starts production in Shanxi Province, China

Chevron’s Technology Marketing group, a business unit within Chevron U.S.A., Inc., announced that Shanxi Lu’An Taihang Lubricants Co. Ltd. (Lu’An) has recently started up a large Chevron-licensed ISODEWAXING® (IDW) unit at a coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant in Shanxi Province, northern China.

The IDW unit, which started up in March, feeds 13,000 barrels per day of pure Fischer Tropsch (FT) wax from the CTL plant.  Lu’An reports that on-test products were achieved in just a few days.

The unit utilizes Chevron’s proprietary IDW technology and fifth-generation IDW® catalyst invented at the Richmond Technology Center.  The Lu’An project marks the world’s first commercial application of IDW technology and catalyst to isomerize a heavy FT wax (with a melting point greater than 80º C) to produce lubricating base oil products (with pour points well below -20º C).  It is also the world’s first production of base oils from coal.

Also notable are the CTL IDW product properties  ̶ very high-quality, Group III+ base oils with viscosities ranging from very light (3 cSt) to bright stock.  The Lu’An 4 cSt base oil product is equivalent or superior to commercial poly alpha olefin (PAO) products in all significant parameters except pour point (which is below -30ºC).

Chevron is a leading hydroprocessing technology licensor for FT wax feeds and, through other joint ventures, offers other leading hydroprocessing technologies for feeds derived from crude oil and non-FT wax feeds in addition to catalyst system supply solutions.