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Diesel Fuel Refining and its

Advancement

By : Er. Vivek Shrivastaw


Mtech 1st Yr.
Chemical Engineering Department

Introduction & Contents

In the last several years, it has become clear that fuels


and vehicles must be regulated together to achieve the
highest level of pollution control

In this portion of the course, we will discuss

Characteristics of crude oils

The refining process

Technologies for achieving clean fuels

Crude Oils

On average, crude oils are made up of the following elements or


compounds:

Carbon 84%

Hydrogen 14%

Sulfur 1 to 3%

Nitrogen - <1%

Oxygen - <1%

Metals - <1% (nickel, iron,vanadium, etc.)

Salts - <1%

Hydrocarbons in Crude Oil

Paraffins methane, ethane, propane, butane, etc.

Aromatics benzene, naphthalene

Naphthenes or Cycloalkenes cyclohexane, methyl


cyclopentane

Alkenes ethylene, butene, isobutene

Dienes and Alkynes acetylene, butadienes

Products From Refining

Petroleum Gas used for heating, cooking, making


plastics

Naphtha an intermediate product used to make


gasoline

Gasoline motor fuel

Kerosene fuel for jet engines and tractors and a


starting material for making other products

Products From Refining

Gas Oil or Diesel used for diesel fuel and heating oil
and a starting material for making other products

Lubricating Oil used for motor oil, grease, other


lubricants

Heavy Gas or Fuel Oil used for industrial fuel and a


starting material for making other products

Residuals coke, asphalt, tar, waxes, and a starting


material for making other products

Flow Chart of the Distillation Process


Crude Oil Distillation: The First Step

Sources and Quality of Crude


Oil

Physical characteristics of crude oil streams differ

Streams with similar characteristics may come from a


single reservoir, a field, or sometimes even a region

Crude oils are classified by density and sulfur content

Light

Heavy

Sweet

Sour

Price differentials reflect the relative ease of refining

Other Characteristics of
Crude Oils

The type of hydrocarbon molecules may affect the cost


of processing or suitability for specific uses

Presence of heavy metals is a contaminant for the


processing and the finished product

It is not easy (at least not profitably) to substitute one


crude oil for another, so refineries tend to be designed
and operated around a specific crude oil or mix of crude
oils

Todays demand is for lighter products of higher quality


from a crude supply that is increasingly heavier, with a
higher sulfur content

The Refining Process

Bending, breaking, and boiling

Distillation separates crude oil into various components


(fractions) using the difference in boiling temperatures

Chemical processing breaks longer chain hydrocarbons


into shorter ones makes diesel into gasoline, for
example

Fractions are treated to remove impurities

Mixtures are blended to meet market specifications

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Chemical Processing

Cracking

Takes larger hydrocarbons and makes them into smaller ones

Types of cracking

Thermal heats large hydrocarbons at high temperatures (sometimes high pressures, as well)
until they break apart

Catalytic uses a catalyst to speed up the breaking process

Fluid catalytic cracking (heavy gas oil to diesel and gasoline)

Hydrocracking adds hydrogen gas (heavy oil to gasoline and kerosene)

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Chemical Processing

Catalytic Reforming

Uses a catalyst to rearrange molecules into more valuable


ones of generally the same size and to produce aromatics

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Chemical Processing

Alkylation

Small hydrocarbons (isobutane and an olefin, usually


butylene) are combined to produce a larger molecule

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Intermediate Products

Refining processing generally produces blendstocks


suitable for making finished products rather than
producing finished products directly

Blendstocks may be traded between companies

Other blendstocks may come from outside the


petroleum refining industry. Examples include fuel
ethanol and biodiesel from agriculture and MTBE and
GTL (gas to liquids) diesel from natural gas

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Blending

Blending is a sophisticated optimization process where


producers attempt to maximize profit by blending the
most valuable set of finished products possible given
the blendstocks available and the constraints imposed
by product specifications (including environmental
regulations)

Not all blending is done at refineries or by refining


companies

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Saleable Products

In addition to gasoline and diesel fuel, refineries sell petroleum gas,


kerosene, heating oil,lubricating oil, industrial fuel, asphalt, tar,
waxes, and other products.

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Diesel Fuel Quality Regulation

The introduction of catalyst-based diesel particulate filters created a


need to reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuels

Options to reduce sulfur include:

Increasing the proportion of low-sulfur crude oil

Hydro-treating straight run diesel and thermally cracked diesel

Reducing the proportion of FCC oil blended into the final product

Installing hydrocrackers

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Hydrotreating

The primary means to achieve ULSD levels

Passes a mixture of heated feedstock and hydrogen through a


catalyst-laden reactor to remove sulfur and other impurities

Hydrotreating can occur at many places in the refining process right


after distillation or at various points of chemical processing

To achieve 15 ppm diesel, refineries must desulfurize essentially all


diesel blending components

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2 Stage Process

Probably will be required at most refineries

1st stage conventional hydrotreating unit

2nd stage using higher pressures, increasing hydrogen rate and purity,
newer catalysts

Higher pressures may require new reactors with thicker walls

Hydrogen consumption is the largest operating cost 10 ppm sulfur


may require 25 to 45% more hydrogen than 500 ppm

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New Technologies for Sulfur Reduction

Sulfur adsorption

Biodesulfurization

Sulfur oxidation

These technologies are in experimental stages of development

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References

How Stuff Works. 1998. How Oil Refining Works?. [Online].


http://science.howstuffworks.com/oil-refining.htm

UTS Energy Corporation. 2005. Glossary. [Online]


http://www.uts.ca/glossary/

www.gcsescience.com. 2005. Products of Oil. [Online]


http://www.gcsescience.com/a/o5.htm

Alan G. Lucas. 2000. Modern Petroleum Technology Volume 2. New York:


John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Douglas M. Ruthren. 1997. Encyclopaedia of Separation Technology Volume


2. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
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