What is a Hydrocracking Unit?

December 1, 2016

Most of us have heard of hydrocracking technology, but we haven't researched the term because it's a technology that's reserved for oil refineries. But hold on, the pressure vessel industry can't skip blithely past these units, not when they're responsible for handling intense mechanical stresses. What's generating this stress factor? More importantly, what is a hydrocracking unit?

Enter the Hydrocracking Primer

Intense forces are used to separate usable fractions from oil. This two-stage processing unit pushes that maxim to its limit by intelligently infusing the catalytic cracking cycle with large quantities of hydrogen. The catalyst then goes to work on the crude feedstock while in the presence of a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. What's the result of this twofold refinement cycle? Primarily, formally heavy fractions convert readily into usable distillates, fractions that exhibit purified chemical characteristics. Next, let's see where hydrogenation fits into this chemical soup.

Hydrogenation Purification

Yield maximization is promoted by this hydrogen-saturated environment. Previously heavy hydrocarbons convert readily, crack and separate to form desirable products, including diesel and kerosene. The hydrogenation mechanism now binds the free-floating hydrogen molecules to the leftovers, to the sulfur and nitrogen contaminants that taint the near perfect fuels. The resulting ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (SF6) waste products are now easy to eject from the processing environment. High-quality diesel fuels are produced in this manner, as are the jet fuels that drive our finest aircraft engines.

From Zero to Hero

The amount of waste produced by a standard cracking facility represents a potential environmental hazard, but hydrocracking units eradicate the waste. They do so by transforming heavy hydrocarbons into high-quality fluid energy sources. And, not to be left out in the cold, the process embraces a high yield productivity model, which means all the nasty bitumen and hardened waste lining the inner surface of the vessel also become a part of the high-quality fuel solution. In putting the final tick in the final box, the recycling hydrogen also eliminates fuel contaminants by using a chemical mechanism known as hydrogenation.

Heat exchangers roast the inner chambers of the hydrocracking unit. Meanwhile, powerful gas compressors pump hydrogen into special processing sections. Due to these tough operating conditions, huge internal stresses are generated, but our hypothetical hydrogen-imbued unit safely withstands these challenging forces. This hydrogen-saturated product earns a premiere spot within an elite pressure vessel family. In return, low-sulfur, high-quality fuels are produced from heavy fractions, substances that otherwise would not yield a usable distillate.

Contact Details

Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619

1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915

Ph: (03) 5909 8218

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