Take a closer look at what we like to cover at a Pathways course. See why one attendee called it “one of the best courses ever attended.”


Particle retention: capacity and efficiency
Capacity and efficiency determine the effectiveness of a particle control system. Learn how these parameters determine filtration performance and how to calculate them. Everything we cover in subsequent sessions will come back to the important principles of capacity and efficiency.

Fluid dynamics of deep-bed filtration
How does filtration actually work? We will look at the mechanics of separating particles from fluids, particle accumulation, and how a filtration system’s behavior changes over time. This will help you quantify and visualize the work of a filtration system.

Structures of filtration material
The properties of filtration media that affect fluid dynamics include void space ratio, tortuosity, pore size, capillary size, and bypass. We will look at how different shapes and sizes of materials affect fluid dynamics, and how to estimate the capacity and efficiency of different media.

Particle characterization
Until this point, we have been working with a hypothetical simple particle. In this session, we will look at how particles vary in the real world and how their different shapes and sizes interact with filtration systems. We will look at particle origins, morphology, and how a particle becomes a foulant.

Fouling modes I: crust formation and pressure drop
When is a filtration system exhausted? In this session, we look at the dynamics of crust layer formation, what can cause the effective capacity of a filtration system to deviate from its theoretical capacity, and what pressure drop can tell you about changes in a filtration system’s efficiency.

Fouling modes II: precipitation and activity loss
Why is there a crust layer underneath the filtration layers? Find out how foulants can bypass your filtration system, how particles can cause deeper bed issues, and how to anticipate where crust layers will form.

Performance forecasting and system design
Apply what you’ve learned. We’ll show you how to tailor a system’s capacity and efficiency to a refinery’s feedstock and operating parameters, and how to use capacity and efficiency to predict the date of the next shutdown. We’ll also talk about how to evaluate the likelihood of different system designs to reach their stated cycle length goals.


Poison control: capacity and efficiency
Review the concepts of capacity and efficiency in terms of the soluble poisons that can deactivate your catalyst. Learn how to quantify the capacity and efficiency of poison control materials, and how the concepts of inert filtration translate to poison control.

Sorption kinetics
How does poison control media work? Learn how adsorption, absorption, and the sorption kinetics of deposition and active sites govern the removal of catalyst poisons from your feedstock.

What are the poisons most likely to kill your catalyst? How much can your catalyst bed take before shutdown, and how should your poison control system adapt to different types of poisons? Learn where catalyst poisons come from, and how best to put them away.

Performance forecasting and system design
Apply what you’ve learned. Design a poison control system optimized for the capacity and efficiency required to reach a cycle length goal. Learn how to predict activity shutdown and validate the reliability of your lab data. We’ll also see how to compare different poison control systems.


Interfacial surface area
The surface area between feedstock and hydrogen influences the maximum activity in a fixed bed. Returning to the previous day’s discussion of fluid dynamics, we will look at how fluids and bed media interact. The following sessions will explore factors that influence interfacial surface area.

The impact of rivulets
What does diminished interfacial surface area look like? In this session, we will examine the phenomenon of rivulet formation and its effects on coking, activity loss, and temperature excursions.

Rivulet mechanics and geometry
What are the properties of fixed bed media that govern rivulet behavior? We will look at the tendencies of rivulets to coalesce in different kinds of fixed bed media. We’ll compare rivulet geometry between engineered reactor internals and ceramic media.

Measuring distribution
We can’t see inside a reactor while it’s operating, but we can use instrumentation to detect the effects of rivulet formation, the impacts of rivulets on activity, and the results efforts to remediate maldistribution. We’ll learn how to interpret your operational data to understand how well your feedstock and catalyst are interfacing.

Maldistribution remediation
Now that we know what a problem looks like and how to tell when we’ve fixed it, what techniques can we apply to address maldistribution issues? We will look at approaches that include tray internals, media size modulation, and emerging technologies for lateral redistribution. We’ll compare various techniques in terms of the operational data that will tell you how well they’re working.

Performance forecasting and system design
Apply what you’ve learned. Design a system to control rivulet formation, optimize interfacial surface area, and maximize reactor activity. We’ll show you how to predict when maldistribution issues will accelerate a shutdown. We’ll also discuss ways to compare designs of different remediation techniques and evaluate proposals from different vendors.

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