Fluid catalytic cracking in an oil refinery uses a catalyst, such as an alumino-silicate zeolite, in the conversion of heavy hydrocarbons to light hydrocarbons. A small fraction of the catalyst is continually replaced with fresh catalyst to maintain activity. In North America, more than 400 tons of spent alumino-silicate equilibrium catalyst (spent e-cat), and worldwide, more than 1,100 tons, are generated daily, most of which is disposed of in landfills (municipal and on-site facilities). In this study, three spent e-cat samples were tested in a value-added application that would utilize this waste in the manufacturing of fired bricks. The results of this study indicate that spent e-cat is a technically feasible raw material substitute for the clay and shale commonly used in fired brick production. Fired bricks produced with up to 30 wt% of spent e-cat showed good physical appearance and their water absorption properties met the ASTM C 62 specifications for building bricks of either the moderate-or severe-weathering grade.
Additional publication details
Making fired bricks with spent equilibrium catalyst-a technical feasibility study