2. Learning outcome
Classify and differentiate the primary processing
and secondary processing in petroleum refinery
Outline and sketch the
- downstream processing
- thermal cracking
operating processes in
Primary refining process
- the distillation of the feedstock into its basic fractions,
and then the re-distillation of these in separate towers
into highly concentrated intermediates.
- In a simple refinery, the split would probably consist of
six basic cuts: petroleum gas (refinery gas and LPG),
gasoline, naphtha, kerosene, gas oil and residue.
5. Introduction (cont)
Primary processing unit
The purpose of primary unit is to separate the crude into
different fractions by distillation
Know as mother unit of the refinery, consist of
•CRUDE DISTILLATION UNIT (CDU)
•VACUUM DISTILLATION UNIT(VDU)
Commonly referred as Atmospheric and VacuumDistillation
6. Introduction (cont.)
Secondary Processes (downstream)
- When automobile industry was in its infancy, it become
that then production of large quantities of
run gasoline from crude distillation would
involve production of much larger quantities of residual
fuels than the market could absorb.
- The demand for gasoline thus spurred on scientists to look
for means of obtaining a higher yield of this product from
- Essentially involves 2 categories ofprocessing:
1) The physical separation of the raw material into
a range of homogeneous petroleum fractions,
include distillation and blending.
2) The subsequent chemical conversion of certain
fractions to alter the product yield and improve
product quality, include cracking, coking,
reforming, alkylation, polymerization,
isomerization and hydrogen treatment.
8. Physical and Chemical Processes
9. Secondary Processing
Secondary processes (downstream)
After crude oil is separated into its fractions, each
stream is further converted by changing the size and
structure of molecules through cracking, reforming
and other conversion processes.
10. Significance of Secondary Processing
• The significance of secondary processing
(1)to remove any impurities and undesirable constituents from
the distilled fractions.
(2)to convert some of the distilled hydrocarbons into different
(3) to improve product quality.
(4)to improve the refinery profit margins by converting low
value heavy ends to high value products like LPG/ gasoline/
(1) to remove any impurities from the distilled fractions
-All crudes contain organic sulphur compounds (eg. H2S-
hydrogen sulfide, mercaptan) which will be carried out over from
the column into the resulting gases, distillates andresidues.
- The higher the density of a crude, the greater its sulphurcontent.
-Sour cuts are corrosive and possess an extremely objectionable
-The secondary process for the treatment of toxic, corrosive and
evil-smelling sulphur-compound impurities is known as
-Caustic washing and hydrodesulphurization are finishing
processes designed to remove H2S and mercaptan impurities.
Significance of Secondary Processing
(2) to convert some of the distilled hydrocarbons into different
-in conversion processes, the structures of natural hydrocarbon
molecules are changed.
-cracking process, large hydrocarbon molecules are cracked or
broken to form two or more smaller molecules.
-cracking can be done by the action of heat and pressure alone
(thermal cracking) or by heat in the presence of suitable catalyst
-the main purpose of cracking is to increase the yield of lighter,
more valuable fractions from medium and residualcuts.
Significance of Secondary Processing
14. Factors for Selecting Secondary
Processes for a Refinery
Type of Crude
Sophistication of technology
15. Chemical Processing
We can change one fraction into another by one of
• Breaking large hydrocarbons into smaller pieces
• Combining smaller pieces to make larger ones
• Rearranging various pieces to make desired hydrocarbons
Cracking takes large hydrocarbons and breaks them
into smaller ones.
After various hydrocarbons are cracked into smaller
hydrocarbons, the products go through another
fractional distillation column to separate them.
17. Chemical Processing - Cracking
There are several types of cracking:
(1) THERMAL – heat large hydrocarbons at high temperature
(sometimes high pressure as well) until they breakapart.
Steam – high temperature steam is used to break ethane, butane and
naptha into ethylene and benzene, which are used to manufacture
Visbreaking – residual from distillation tower is heated, cooled with gas
oil and rapidly flashed in a distillation tower. This process reduces the
viscosity of heavy weight oils and produces tar.
Coking – residual from the distillation tower is heated to temperatures
above 482 degree C until it cracks into heavy oil, gasoline and naphtha.
When the process is completed, a heavy and almost pure carbon residue is
Chemical Processing – Cracking
(2) CATALYTIC – use catalyst to speed up the cracking reaction.
Catalysts include zeolite, aluminium hydrosilicate, bauxite and silica
Fluid catalytic cracking – a hot, fluid catalyst at 538 degree C cracks
heavy oil into diesel oils and gasoline.
Hydrocracking – similar to fluid catalytic cracking, but uses a different
catalyst, lower temperature, high pressure and hydrogen gas. It takes heavy
oil and cracks it into gasoline and kerosene (jetfuel).
Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit
Objective: to convert heavy vacuum gas oil to valuable distillates like LPG, Gasoline,
Diesel by catalytic cracking in fluidized bed.
Hydro Cracker Unit
Objective: to convert heavy vacuum gas oil to valuable distillates like LPG, Naptha,
Automatic transmission fluid (ATF), Kerosene and Diesel
Objective: to reduce viscosity of heavy ends i.e. RCO/ Vacuum residue by thermal
Objective: to produce valuable distillate from heavy ends by thermal cracking
Cracking Process Units
Combine smaller hydrocarbons to make larger ones
Major unification process is called catalytic
reforming, and catalyst as platinum, platinum-
rheniummix to combine low weight naptha into
A significant by-product of this reaction is
hydrogen gas, which is then either used for
hydrocracking or sold.
Chemical Processing - Unification
The structures of molecules in one fraction are
rearranged to produce another.
Alkylation – The process combines anunsaturated
light hydrocarbon (such as olefins, propylene or
butene) with isobutane to produce alkylate in the
presence of a catalyst such as hydrofluoric acid or
sulfuric acid ( a by product from removing
impurities from many oilproducts).
Product of alkylation are high octanehydrocarbons.
Chemical Processing - Alteration
22. THERMAL PROCESSES
When a hydrocarbon is heated to a sufficiently high temperature thermal
cracking occurs. This is sometimes referred to as pyrolysis (especially
when coal is the feedstock). When steam is used it is called steam
cracking. Wewill examine two thermal processes used in refineries.
• Delayed coking
•Visbreaking is a mild form of thermal cracking that lowers the
viscosity of heavy crude-oil residues without affecting the boiling
•Residuum from the atmospheric distillation tower is heated (425-
510ºC) at atmospheric pressure and mildly cracked in a heater.
• It is then quenched with cool gas oil to control over-cracking, and
flashed in a distillation tower.
• Visbreaking is used to reduce the pour point of waxy residues and
reduce the viscosity of residues used for blending with lighter fuel oils.
Middle distillates may also be produced, depending on product
• The thermally cracked residue tar, which accumulates in the bottom
of the fractionation tower, is vacuum-flashed in a stripper and the
24. Alternatively, vacuum residue can be cracked. The severity
visbreaking depends upon temperature and reaction time (1‐8 min).
• Usually < 10 wt% of gasoline and lighter products are produced.
The objective is to reduce the viscosity as much as possible without
significantly affecting the fuel stability.
Soaker Visbreaking Process
The furnace operates at a lower outlet temperature and a soaker drum is
provided atthe outlet of the furnace to give adequate residence time to
obtain the desired conversion while producing a stableresidue product,
thereby increasing the heater run and reducing the frequency of unit shut
down for heater decoking . The products from soaker drum are quenched and
distilled in the downstream fractionator.
26. Delayed Coking
• Coking is a severe method of thermal cracking used to upgrade heavy
residuals into lighter products or distillates.
•Coking produces straight‐run gasoline (Coker naphtha) and various
middle‐distillate fractions used as catalytic cracking feedstock.
• The process completely reduces hydrogen so that the residue is a form
of carbon called "coke."
•Three typical types of coke are obtained (sponge coke, honeycomb
coke, and needle coke) depending upon the reaction mechanism, time,
temperature, and the crude feedstock.
•In delayed coking the heated charge (typically residuum from
atmospheric distillation towers) is transferred to large coke drums which
provide the long residence time needed to allow the cracking reactions to
proceed to completion.
29. Reactions To Convert Heavy Oils
H2+ heavy oil → gasoline + diesel
550 F 300 F 450 F
heavy oil → gasoline + propylene, butane,
other “light ends”
550 F 300 F
30. Reactions To Convert Resid
Resid is the “bottom of the barrel” - the material that
is left in the bottom of the crude/vacuum distillation
resid + heat → coke + heavy oil
> 900 F solid 550 F
31. T H E R M A L C R A C K I N G
D e s c r i p t i o n
a . B e c a u s e t h e s i m p l e d i s t i l l a t i o n o f c r u d e o i l p r o d u c e s a m o u n t s a n d t y p e s o f p r o d u c t s
t h a t a r e n o t c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h o s e r e q u i r e d b y t h e m a r k e t p l a c e , s u b s e q u e n t r e f i n e r y
p r o c e s s e s c h a n g e t h e p r o d u c t m i x b y a l t e r i n g t h e m o l e c u l a r s t r u c t u r e o f t h e
h y d r o c a r b o n s . O n e o f t h e w a y s o f a c c o m p l i s h i n g t h i s c h a n g e i s t h r o u g h " c r a c k i n g , " a
p r o c e s s t h a t b r e a k s o r c r a c k s t h e h e a v i e r , h i g h e r b o i l i n g - p o i n t p e t r o l e u m f r a c t i o n s i n t o
m o r e v a l u a b l e p r o d u c t s s u c h a s g a s o l i n e , f u e l o i l , a n d g a s o i l s . T h e t w o b a s i c t y p e s o f
c r a c k i n g a r e t h e r m a l c r a c k i n g , u s i n g h e a t a n d p r e s s u r e , a n d c a t a l y t i c c r a c k i n g .
b . T h e f i r s t t h e r m a l c r a c k i n g p r o c e s s w a s d e v e l o p e d a r o u n d 1 9 1 3 . D i s t i l l a t e f u e ls a n d
h e a v y o i l s w e r e h e a t e d u n d e r p r e s s u r e i n l a r g e d r u m s u n t i l t h e y c r a c k e d i n t o s m a l l e r
m o l e c u l e s w i t h b e t t e r a n t i k n o c k c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . H o w e v e r , t h i s m e t h o d p r o d u c e d l a r g e
a m o u n t s o f s o l i d , u n w a n t e d c o k e . T h i s e a r l y p r o c e s s h a s e v o l v e d i n t o t h e f o l l o w i n g
a p p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e r m a l c r a c k i n g : v i s b r e a k i n g , s t e a m c r a c k i n g , a n d c o k i n g .
V i s b r e a k i n g P r o c e s s
V i s b r e a k i n g , a m i l d f o r m o f t h e r m a l c r a c k i n g , s i g n i f i c a n t l y l o w e r s t h e v i s c o s i t y o f h e a v y
c r u d e - o i l r e s i d u e w i t h o u t a f f e c t i n g t h e b o i l i n g p o i n t r a n g e . R e s i d u a l f r o m t h e a t m o s p h e r i c
d i s t i l l a t i o n t o w e r i s h e a t e d ( 8 0 0 ° - 9 5 0 ° F ) a t a t m o s p h e r i c p r e s s u r e a n d m i l d l y c r a c k e d i n a
h e a t e r . I t i s t h e n q u e n c h e d w i t h c o o l g a s o i l t o c o n t r o l o v e r c r a c k i n g , a n d f l a s h e d i n a
d i s t i l l a t i o n t o w e r . V i s b r e a k i n g i s u s e d t o r e d u c e t h e p o u r p o i n t o f w a x y r e s i d u e s a n d
r e d u c e t h e v i s c o s i t y o f r e s i d u e s u s e d f o r b l e n d i n g w i t h l i g h t e r f u e l o i l s . M i d d l e d i s t i l l a t e s
m a y a l s o b e p r o d u c e d , d e p e n d i n g o n p r o d u c t d e m a n d . T h e t h e r m a l l y c r a c k e d r e s i d u e t a r ,
w h i c h a c c u m u l a t e s i n t h e b o t t o m o f t h e f r a c t i o n a t i o n t o w e r , i s v a c u u m f l a s h e d i n a
s t r i p p e r a n d t h e d i s t i l l a t e r e c y c l e d .
C o k i n g P r o c e s s e s
C o k i n g i s a s e v e r e m e t h o d o f t h e r m a l c r a c k i n g u s e d t o u p g r a d e h e a v y r e s i d u a l s i n t o
l i g h t e r p r o d u c t s o r d i s t i l l a t e s . C o k i n g p r o d u c e s s t r a i g h t - r u n g a s o l i n e ( c o k e r n a p h t h a ) a n d
v a r i o u s m i d d l e - d i s t i l l a t e f r a c t i o n s u s e d a s c a t a l y t i c c r a c k i n g f e e d s t o c k . T h e p r o c e s s s o
c o m p l e t e l y r e d u c e s h y d r o g e n t h a t t h e r e s i d u e i s a f o r m o f c a r b o n c a l l e d " c o k e . " T h e t w o
m o s t c o m m o n p r o c e s s e s a r e d e l a y e d c o k i n g a n d c o n t i n u o u s ( c o n t a c t o r f l u i d ) c o k i n g .
T h r e e t y p i c a l t y p e s o f c o k e a r e o b t a i n e d ( s p o n g e c o k e , h o n e y c o m b c o k e , a n d n e e d l e
c o k e ) d e p e n d i n g u p o n t h e r e a c t i o n m e c h a n i s m , t i m e , t e m p e r a t u r e , a n d t h e c r u d e
f e e d s t o c k .
36. CATALYTIC CRACKING
a. Catalytic cracking breaks complex hydrocarbons into simpler molecules in order to
increase the quality and quantity of lighter, more desirable products and decrease the
amount of residuals. This process rearranges the molecular structure of hydrocarbon
compounds to convert heavy hydrocarbon feedstock into lighter fractions such as
kerosene, gasoline, LPG, heating oil, and petrochemical feedstock.
b. Catalytic cracking is similar to thermal cracking except that catalysts facilitate the
conversion of the heavier molecules into lighter products. Use of a catalyst in the
cracking reaction increases the yield of improved-quality products under much less
severe operating conditions than in thermal cracking . Typical temperatures are from
850°-950° F at much lower pressures of 10-20 psi. The catalysts used in refinery cracking
units are typically solid materials ( zeolite, aluminum hydrosilicate, treated bentonite clay,
fuller's earth, bauxite, and silica-alumina) that come in the form of powders, beads,
pellets or shaped materials called extrudites.
c. There are three basic functions in the catalytic cracking process:
Reaction: Feedstock reacts with catalyst and cracks into different hydrocarbons;
Regeneration: Catalyst is reactivated by burning off coke; and
Fractionation: Cracked hydrocarbon stream is separated into various products.
39. FLUID C ATA LY T I C C R A C K I N G
a.The most common process is FCC, in which the oil is cracked in the presence of a
finely divided catalyst which is maintained in an aerated or fluidized state b y the oil
vapors. The fluid cracker consists of a catalyst section and a fractionating section that
operate together as an integrated processing unit. The catalyst section contains the reactor
and regenerator, which, with the standpipe and riser, forms the catalyst circulation unit.
The fluid catalyst is continuously circulated between the reactor and the regenerator using
air, oil vapors, and steam as the conveying media.
b . A typical FCC process involves mixing a preheated hydrocarbon charge with hot,
regenerated catalyst as it enters the riser leading to the reactor. The charge is combined
with a recycle stream within the riser, vaporized, and raised to reactor temperature (900°-
1,000° F) by the hot catalyst. As the mixture travels up the riser, the charge is cracked at
10-30 psi. In the more modern FCC units, all cracking takes place in the riser. The
"reactor" no longer functions as a reactor; it merely serves as a holding vessel for the
cyclones. This cracking continues until the oil vapors are separated from the catalyst in
the reactor cyclones. The resultant product stream (cracked product) is then charged to a
fractionating column where it is separated into fractions, and some of the heavy oil is
recycled to the riser.
c. Spent catalyst is regenerated to get rid of coke that collects o n the catalyst during the
process. Spent catalyst flows through the catalyst stripper to the regenerator, where most
of the coke deposits burn off at the bottom where preheated air and spent catalyst are
mixed. Fresh catalyst is added and worn-out catalyst removed to optimize the cracking
40. In petroleum geology and chemistry, cracking is the process whereby complex organic molecules such
as kerogens or heavy hydrocarbons are broken down into simpler molecules (e.g. light hydrocarbons) by
the breaking of carbon-carbon bonds in the precursors. The rate of cracking and the end products are
strongly dependent on the temperature and presence of any catalysts. Cracking, also referred to as
pyrolysis, is the breakdown of a large alkane into smaller, more useful alkenes and an alkane. Simply
put, cracking hydrocarbons is when you separate long chain hydrocarbons into short ones.
Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries.
It is widely used to convert the high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils to more
valuable gasoline, olefinic gases and other products. Cracking of petroleum hydrocarbons was originally
done by thermal cracking which has been almost completely replaced by catalytic cracking because it
produces more gasoline with a higher octane rating. It also produces byproduct gases that are more
olefinic, and hence more valuable, than those produced by thermal cracking.
The feedstock to an FCC is usually that portion of the crude oil that has an initial boiling point of 340
°C or higher at atmospheric pressure and an average molecular weight ranging from about 200 to 600 or
higher. The FCC process vaporizes and breaks the long-chain molecules of the high-boiling
hydrocarbon liquids into much shorter molecules by contacting the feedstock, at high temperature and
moderate pressure, with a fluidized powdered catalyst.
In effect, refineries use fluid catalytic cracking to correct the imbalance between the market demand for
gasoline and the excess of heavy, high boiling range products resulting from the distillation of crude oil.
41. Reactor and Regenerator
The preheated high-boiling petroleum feedstock (at about 315 to 430°C) consisting of long-chain
hydrocarbon molecules is combined with recycle slurry oil from the bottom of the distillation column and
injected into the catalyst riser where it is vaporized and cracked into smaller molecules of vapor by
contact and mixing with the very hot powdered catalyst from the regenerator. All of the cracking
reactions take place in the catalyst riser. The hydrocarbon vapors "fluidize" the powdered catalyst and the
mixture of hydrocarbon vapors and catalyst flows upward to enter the reactor at a temperature of about
535°C and a pressure of about 1.72 barg.
The reactor is in fact merely a vessel in which the cracked product vapors are: (a) separated from the so-
called spent catalyst by flowing through a set of two-stage cyclones within the reactor and (b) the spent
catalyst flows downward through a steam stripping section to remove any hydrocarbon vapors before the
spent catalyst returns to the catalyst regenerator. The flow of spent catalyst to the regenerator is regulated
by a slide valve in the spent catalyst line.
Since the cracking reactions produce some carbonaceous material (referred to as coke) that deposits on
the catalyst and very quickly reduces the catalyst reactivity, the catalyst is regenerated by burning off the
deposited coke with air blown into the regenerator. The regenerator operates at a temperature of about
715°C and a pressure of about 2.41 barg. The combustion of the coke is exothermic and it produces a
large amount of heat that is partially absorbed by the regenerated catalyst and provides the heat required
for the vaporization of the feedstock and the endothermic cracking reactions that take place in the catalyst
riser. For that reason, FCC units are often referred to as being heat balanced.
42. The hot catalyst (at about 715 °C) leaving the regenerator flows into a catalyst withdrawal well where
any entrained combustion flue gases are allowed to escape and flow back into the upper part to the
regenerator. The flow of regenerated catalyst to the feedstock injection point below the catalyst riser is
regulated by a slide valve in the regenerated catalyst line. The hot flue gas exits the regenerator after
passing through multiple sets of two-stage cylones that remove entrained catalyst from the flue gas.
The amount of catalyst circulating between the regenerator and the reactor amounts to about 5 kg per kg
of feedstock which is equivalent to about 4.66 kg per litre of feedstock. Thus, an FCC unit processing
75,000 barrels/day (12,000,000 litres/day) will circulate about 55,900 metric tons per day of catalyst.
The reaction product vapors (at 535 °C and a pressure of 1.72 barg) flow from the top of the reactor to
the bottom section of the distillation column (commonly referred to as the main fractionator) where they
are distilled into the FCC end products of cracked naphtha, fuel oil and off-gas. After further processing
for removal of sulfur compounds, the cracked naphtha becomes a high-octane component of the
refinery's blended gasolines.
The main fractionator off-gas is sent to what is called a gas recovery unit where it is separated into
butanes and butylenes, propane and propylene, and lower molecular weight gases (hydrogen, methane,
ethylene and ethane). Some FCC gas recovery units may also separate out some of the ethane and
Although the schematic flow diagram above depicts the main fractionator as having only one sidecut
stripper and one fuel oil product, many FCC main fractionators have two sidecut strippers and produce a
light fuel oil and a heavy fuel oil. Likewise, many FCC main fractionators produce a light cracked
naphtha and a heavy cracked naphtha. The terminology light and heavy in this context refers to the
product boiling ranges, with light products having a lower boiling range than heavy products.
43. The bottom product oil from the main fractionator contains residual catalyst particles which were not
completely removed by the cyclones in the top of the reactor. For that reason, the bottom product oil is
referred to as a slurry oil. Part of that slurry oil is recycled back into the main fractionator above the entry
point of the hot reaction product vapors so as to cool and partially condense the reaction product vapors as
they enter the main fractionator. The remainder of the slurry oil is pumped through a slurry settler. The
bottom oil from the slurry settler contains most of the slurry oil catalyst particles and is recycled back into
the catalyst riser by combining it with the FCC feedstock oil. The so-called clarified slurry oil is
withdrawn from the top of slurry settler for use elsewhere in the refinery or as a heavy fuel oil blending
Regenerator flue gas
Depending on the choice of FCC design, the combustion in the regenerator of the coke on the spent
catalyst may or may not be complete combustion to carbon dioxide (CO2). The combustion air flow is
controlled so as to provide the desired ratio of carbon monoxide (CO) to carbon dioxide for each specific
In the design shown in Figure 1, the coke has only been partially combusted to CO2. The combustion flue
gas (containing CO and CO2) at 715 °C and at a pressure of 2.41 barg is routed through a secondary
catalyst separator containing swirl tubes designed to remove 70 to 90 percent of the particulates in the flue
gas leaving the regenerator. This is required to prevent erosion damage to the blades in the turbo-expander
that the flue gas is next routed through.
44. The expansion of flue gas through a turbo-expander provides sufficient power to drive the
regenerator's combustion air compressor. The electrical motor-generator can consume or
produce electrical power. If the expansion of the flue gas does not provide enough power to
drive the air compressor, the electric motor/generator provides the needed additional power.
If the flue gas expansion provides more power than needed to drive the air compressor,
than the electric motor/generator converts the excess power into electric power and exports
it to the refinery's electrical system.
The expanded flue gas is then routed through a steam-generating boiler (referred to as a CO
boiler) where the carbon monoxide in the flue gas is burned as fuel to provide steam for use
in the refinery as well as to comply with any applicable environmental regulatory limits on
carbon monoxide emissions.
The flue gas is finally processed through an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) to remove
residual particulate matter to comply with any applicable environmental regulations
regarding particulate emissions. The ESP removes particulates in the size range of 2 to 20
microns from the flue gas.
The steam turbine in the flue gas processing system is used to drive the regenerator's
combustion air compressor during start-ups of the FCC unit until there is sufficient
combustion flue gas to take over that task.
a. Hydrocracking is a two-stage process combining catalytic cracking and
hydrogenation, wherein heavier feedstocks are cracked in the presence of hydrogen to
produce more desirable products . The process employs high pressure, high temperature, a
catalyst, and hydrogen. Hydrocracking is used for feedstocks that are difficult to process
by either catalytic cracking or reforming, since these feedstocks are characterized usually
by a high polycyclic aromatic content and/or high concentrations of the two principal
catalyst poisons, sulfur and nitrogen compounds .
b. The hydrocracking process largely depends on the nature of the feedstock and the
relative rates of the two competing reactions, hydrogenation and cracking. Heavy
aromatic feedstock is converted into lighter products under a wide range of very high
pressures (1,000-2,000 psi) and fairly high temperatures (750°-1,500° F), in the presence
of hydrogen and special catalysts. When the feedstock has a high paraffinic content, the
primary function of hydrogen is to prevent the formation of polycyclic aromatic
compounds. Another important role of hydrogen in the hydrocracking process is to
reduce tar formation and prevent buildup of coke on the catalyst . Hydrogenation also
serves to convert sulfur and nitrogen compounds present in the feedstock to hydrogen
sulfide and ammonia.
c. Hydrocracking produces relatively large amounts of isobutane for alkylation feedstock.
Hydrocracking also performs isomerization for pour-point control and smoke- point
control, both of which are important in high-quality jet fuel.
53. Hydrocracking Process
a. In the first stage, preheated feedstock is mixed with recycled hydrogen
and sent to the first-stage reactor, where catalysts convert sulfur and nitrogen
compounds to hydrogen sulfide and ammonia . Limited hydrocracking also
b. After the hydrocarbon leaves the first stage, it is cooled and liquefied and
run through a hydrocarbon separator. The hydrogen is recycled to the
feedstock. The liquid is charged to a fractionator. Depending on the products
desired (gasoline components, jet fuel, and gas oil), the fractionator is run to
cut out some portion of the first stage reactor out-turn. Kerosene-range
material can be taken as a separate side-draw product or included in the
fractionator bottoms with the gas oil.
c. The fractionator bottoms are again mixed with a hydrogen stream and
charged to the second stage . Since this material has already been subjected
to some hydrogenation, cracking, and reforming in the first stage, the
operations of the second stage are more severe (higher temperatures and
pressures). Like the out-turn of the first stage, the second stage product is
separated from the hydrogen and charged to the fractionator.
57. HYDROGEN PRODUCTION
a.High-purity hydrogen (95%-99%) is required for hydrodesulfurization, hydrogenation,
hydrocracking, and petrochemical processes. Hydrogen, produced as a by-product of
refinery processes (principally hydrogen recovery from catalytic reformer product gases),
often is not enough to meet the total refinery requirements, necessitating the
manufacturing of additional hydrogen or obtaining supply from external sources.
b.In steam-methane reforming, desulfurized gases are mixed with superheated steam
(1,100°-1,600° F) and reformed in tubes containing a nickel base catalyst. The reformed
gas, which consists of steam, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, is cooled
and passed through converters containing an iron catalyst where the carbon monoxide
reacts with steam to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen. The carbon dioxide is
removed by amine washing. Any remaining carbon monoxide in the product stream is
converted to methane.
c.Steam-naphtha reforming is a continuous process for the production of hydrogen from
liquid hydrocarbons and is, in fact, similar to steam-methane reforming. A variety of
naphthas in the gasoline boiling range may be employed, including fuel containing up to
35% aromatics. Following pretreatment to remove sulfur compounds, the feedstock is
mixed with steam and taken to the reforming furnace (1,250°-1,500° F) where hydrogen