A joint venture of Conoco Inc., Finland's Neste Oy, and Catalytica, Mountain View, Calif., will pursue commercial development of Catalytica's new catalytic gasoline alkylation process. Sponsors say the new process, based on a proprietary solid catalyst, could eliminate the need for liquid acid alkylation units that use hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids to produce high octane gasoline. California has proposed a ban on hydrofluoric acid use in state refineries. Existing liquid acid alkylation units could be converted to the new process, the venture said. The three partners expect to start up a pilot plant at Porvoo, Finland, to demonstrate the new process. Financ...

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