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ISSN 1337-7027
Available online at 
Petroleum & Coal 48 (3), 28-35, 2006

REACTOR MODELING AND SIMULATION OF
CATALYTIC REFORMING PROCESS
S. R. Seif Mohaddecy1, S. Zahedi2, S. Sadighi1, H. Bonyad1
1

Catalytic Reaction Engineering Department, Catalyst Research
Center, RIPI, RIPI Boulivard, Old Qom Road, Tehran, P.O. Box:
18745-4163, 2Chemical Engineering Department, Engineering Faculty,
Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, e-mail:seifsr@ripi.ir
Received April 10, 2006; accepted November 24, 2006

Abstract
One of the most important and critical processes in petroleum refineries is catalytic reforming in which high
octane gasoline and valuable aromatics such as Benzene, Toluene and Xylene (B.T.X.) are produced. In view
of the importance of this process for producing gasoline, simulation of catalytic reforming process and
prediction of vital parameters such as octane number, Liquid Hour Space Velocity (LHSV), reactor inlet
temperatures, yield and catalyst life aiming at process optimization is of prime importance. In this work, the
oldest kinetic model mentioned for this unit is reconsidered. The accuracy of the model is compared with the
collected data from Tehran refinery and results of Petro-Sim simulator, one of the newest for simulation of
petroleum refinery processes. The results show that this model has relatively acceptable ability to predict
octane number, outlet temperature of reactors and yield.
Keywords: Catalytic Naphtha Reforming, Petro-Sim, Modeling, Simulation

1. Introduction
The catalytic reforming process is one of the most critical operations in petroleum refineries to
produce gasoline with high octane number. This process uses naphtha or cracking oil as feedstock
to produce rich aromatic compounds and high octane value liquid products through reactions such
as aromatization, cyclization and hydrocracking. At the same time, it produces hydrogen (H) and
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as its by-products. In this process, products with different octane
number are produced unlike the production of certain octane number in others such as catalytic
cracking, alkylation and isomerization.
Industrial catalysts used in recent catalytic reforming units are consisted of Gama Alumina
support, metals such as Platinum, Rhenium, Germanium, and Iridium, less than one weight
percent, and additives such as chlorine to increase isomerization reactions. Usually, feed of
catalytic reformers is Heav...
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ISSN 1337-7027
Available online at www.vurup.sk/pc
Petroleum & Coal 48 (3), 28-35, 2006
REACTOR MODELING AND SIMULATION OF
CATALYTIC REFORMING PROCESS
S. R. Seif Mohaddecy
1
, S. Zahedi
2
, S. Sadighi
1
, H. Bonyad
1
1
Catalytic Reaction Engineering Department, Catalyst Research
Center, RIPI, RIPI Boulivard, Old Qom Road, Tehran, P.O. Box:
18745-4163,
2
Chemical Engineering Department, Engineering Faculty,
Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran,
e-mail:seifsr@ripi.ir
Received April 10, 2006; accepted November 24, 2006
Abstract
One of the most important and critical processes in petroleum refineries is catalytic reforming in which high
octane gasoline and valuable aromatics such as Benzene, Toluene and Xylene (B.T.X.) are produced. In view
of the importance of this process for producing gasoline, simulation of catalytic reforming process and
prediction of vital parameters such as octane number, Liquid Hour Space Velocity (LHSV), reactor inlet
temperatures, yield and catalyst life aiming at process optimization is of prime importance. In this work, the
oldest kinetic model mentioned for this unit is reconsidered. The accuracy of the model is compared with the
collected data from Tehran refinery and results of Petro-Sim simulator, one of the newest for simulation of
petroleum refinery processes. The results show that this model has relatively acceptable ability to predict
octane number, outlet temperature of reactors and yield.
Keywords: Catalytic Naphtha Reforming, Petro-Sim, Modeling, Simulation
1. Introduction
The catalytic reforming process is one of the most critical operations in petroleum refineries to
produce gasoline with high octane number. This process uses naphtha or cracking oil as feedstock
to produce rich aromatic compounds and high octane value liquid products through reactions such
as aromatization, cyclization and hydrocracking. At the same time, it produces hydrogen (H) and
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as its by-products. In this process, products with different octane
number are produced unlike the production of certain octane number in others such as catalytic
cracking, alkylation and isomerization.
Industrial catalysts used in recent catalytic reforming units are consisted of Gama Alumina
support, metals such as Platinum, Rhenium, Germanium, and Iridium, less than one weight
percent, and additives such as chlorine to increase isomerization reactions. Usually, feed of
catalytic reformers is Heavy Straight Run Naphtha (H.S.R.G) including four hydrocarbon groups:
Paraffins, Olefins, Naphthenes and Aromatics (P.O.N.A) with carbon number from 5 to 10. The
design or simulation of the catalytic reforming reactor is very difficult because of intricacy of
catalytic reforming feedstock, high operating temperature of reactors, and the complex reactions in
the reactor.
In the catalytic reforming process, seven types of reactions are taken place as the following:
1-Dehydrogenation 2-Isomerization 3-Hydrocracking 4-Cyclization
5-Hydrogenolysis 6-Aromatization 7-Coke Formation
A typical of these group reactions is shown in figure 1.
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