Optimizing Catalyst Performance Using Rapid Response WaveRunIR™-RAMAN Spectroscopy

Client/Industry Overview

Lummus Technology is a Pasadena, TX-based chemical company that specializes in developing and implementing petrochemical, polymer, refining, hydroprocessing, gasification, and gas processing technologies. Lummus supplies catalysts and proprietary equipment to customers worldwide, and is one of the largest stand-alone technology licensing organizations.


CATOFIN, a Lummus technology, is a highly selective catalytic process for olefin production via dehydrogenation. A normal commercial CATOFIN cycle takes place over a 10-minute period. Concentration data were previously collected and analyzed as 10-minute averages. In order to optimize catalyst performance, the process reaction and conversion dynamics needed to be measured at a much faster rate.


Spectrum’s highly customizable WaveRunIR™-RAMAN and NuWave™ Spectroscopic Software enabled Lummus to collect and analyze full IR and Raman spectra rapidly during cyclic CATOFIN processes. The following compounds were characterized and quantified every 30 seconds at wide concentration ranges:

  • Methane
  • Ethane
  • Ethylene
  • Propane
  • Propylene
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide

The instrument’s rapid response ultimately allowed for the calculation of space velocity, measurement of conversion rates, and monitoring of catalyst decoking. Spectrum continues to provide expertise and support to Lummus to ensure the instrument’s proper operation and generation of high-quality data.

Spectrum's WaveRunIR-RAMAN device.

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