PEP Review 84-3-4
Published: December 1985
Isomerization of normal C5-C6 paraffins (in the light straight run naphtha fraction from crude oil) is a well known process for enhancing gasoline octane, with little effect on other refinery operations. Interest in the process has recently revived because this capability is consistent with the phase down of lead additives (together with an early static gasoline demand), throughout the industrialized world.
This review addresses isomerization technology and economics, exemplified by the Union Carbide Total Isomerization Process (TIP). We conclude that economic returns can be very attractive, especially for those large refiners capable of investing capital and of marketing a disproportionate amount of unleaded premium gasoline.