Innovating sustainable pathways for coker technology

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Richard Spires
Director Of Technology Development at Wood

The best ideas are generated from engaged teams who are not only motivated by our client’s needs, but also see value in enhancing the work they are delivering. Wood subject matter experts are addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges and seek to identify and continuously develop the best solutions to solve them.

Recently, a team from our Technology Centre of Excellence in Houston, Texas brought forward a solution to extend the capability of Wood’s proprietary Selective Yield Delayed Coker technology (SYDECSM), by enabling the co-processing of waste plastic materials. Wood’s SYDEC SM technology, originally developed in the 1960s, provides refiners with the flexibility to utilise a variety of residues in their cokers. This enables clients to maximise production value and reduce waste through the processing of heavier crudes by quickly augmenting existing facilities.

The newly enhanced generation of this technology, SYDECSM Circular, will enable clients to co-process plastic waste whilereducing the risk of heater fouling and drum foaming and maintaining or improving the fuel or petrochemical product quality expected from SYDECSM. The repurposing of this plastic waste also diverts this material from landfills and oceans.

Wood’s team, consisting of Richard Conticello, Luis Gordo, and Srini Srivatsan, accelerated SYDECSM Circular through Wood’s 2021 Innovation Quest, an internal challenge that enables a culture of innovation and exploring where we can add value to our clients’ projects and processes. By funding employee-driven innovation, Wood brings proof-of-concept products over the finish line and to our clients in short order.

The team performed an extended pilot plant testing to demonstrate that the process accepts a variety of waste plastic materials and confirm that the operating parameters maintain or improve product quality. Engineering options were also considered to integrate the necessary equipment which will allow waste plastics to be accepted into Wood’s existing proprietary scheme.

In collaboration with Wood’s environmental and circular economy experts, the team performed case study evaluations of the technology including carbon lifecycle analysis to provide an understanding of the potential technology benefits to the circular economy, including creating a stronger market for hard-to-recycle plastics.

The team also performed waste plastic supply chain assessments to identify potential sources of waste materials that may be suitable for processing. This offset of virgin crude feedstocks also enables traditional oil refineries to convert to more sustainable models. As a result, our consulting services are immediately available to clients seeking to integrate the SYDECSM Circular technology into their existing portfolio. By processing waste plastics, refiners can recover valuable hydrocarbon materials and reduce their carbon footprint by providing a route for recycling hard-to-recover plastics and play a more active role in building the circular economy.

Look out for more news about this technology development and future innovations at

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