RIL and IIP Come Together to Curb the Benzene Threat

RIL joins hands with the IIP to create a Benzene Recovery Unit, to limit the chemical's hazardous effects in a cost-effective manner.

Mumbai, Maharashtra, June 21, 2016 /India PRwire/ -- In the wake of the harmful effects of air pollution, companies worldwide are attempting to devise technologies. These are expected to curb the pollutants arising from industrial work.

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is playing a pivotal role in this regard and has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) to create a Benzene Recovery Unit.

Ill effects of benzene

A harmful carcinogen, benzene is employed as an industrial solvent, used in the preparation of several artificial materials. It is also emitted through gasoline fumes, and cigarette smoke.

High levels of benzene in the atmosphere have been linked to several cancers of the blood cells, especially leukemia. Therefore, international studies have been conducted to control its consequences.

Benzene Recovery Unit (BRU)

Indigenous in its making, this technology will help restrict the amount of benzene occurring in raffinate. The previously employed technology had certain issues which required modification in order to fully optimize the resources.

In order to reduce the air contamination occurring due to high levels of benzene, RIL and IIP decided to co-develop a distillation process. RIL not only commissioned the project, but also constructed the recovery units. On 23rd May, BRU-enabled products were sent for blending and sales.

Association of RIL with IIP

The successful collaboration of a public and private player towards creating an environment-friendly technology is a positive sign of development. By participating in the production of BRUs, Reliance Industries and IIP both have joined the elite developers' league, in terms of technology.

The company stated that global enquiries are pouring in to license this innovation.

Benefits of BRU

The BRUs would help reduce the benzene levels found in raffinate (return streams to gasoline) to a meager 0.2 volume per cent. Present in gasoline and naphtha, the earlier method proved to be truly ineffective.

With the rise in concerns regarding the environment, and the poor air quality, this technology comes as a definite relief to the industry.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Headquartered in Washington, USA, the agency works towards the betterment of American society through conservation of the environment. The EPA launched the 'Gasoline Benzene Program' in January, 2011.

It set a mandatory 0.62 volume per cent for refiners using both reformulated as well as conventional gasoline. This standard is an annual average for gasoline-related benzene content. Additionally, this would help create sufficient benzene credits for the entire industry.

RIL's Initiative

The Jamnagar Refinery employs two Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) units, which are the world's largest. The high quantity of naphtha produced by them greatly contributes to the benzene pool of the country.

The previous methods required high capital and markedly increased the operating expenses. RIL foresaw the application of the EPA regulations as a global practice. Therefore, ever since 2011, it had a benzene reduction project in the pipeline.

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