Fossil fuel products are processed into useable formats at refineries. This starts when raw crudes are taken from a well and passed through a distillery. The distillation furnace in a crude oil refinery comprises several levels, which separate distinct hydrocarbon products based on their density. Heavier hydrocarbons will settle at the bottom of the tower while lighter products rise to the top.
Once the mixture of hydrocarbons in raw crudes has been divided in the refinery, they can be individually processed for various end-product fossil fuels. The lightest hydrocarbon chains (methane, propane, and butane) can either be diverted back into the distillation furnace to serve as a feedstock for fires or they can be processed for sale. Due to changing regulatory standards, it is increasingly important to inspect the desulfurization process to guarantee that sulfur levels are well within acceptable levels.
Mid-weight hydrocarbons (kerosene, gasoline, naphtha, etc.) are most commonly blended to produce an infinite range of hydrocarbon blends. This enables refineries to meet the demands of customers in the widest possible range of market sectors. Guaranteeing a quality end product requires careful in-line inspection of the fuel blending process. Maximizing profits at this stage of development may require the determination of Fuel Octane Numbers (i.e. RON, MON). Using online near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic analysis, refineries can blend expensive high octane feedstocks with less expensive low octane naphtha while maintaining required octane levels and minimizing costs.
If petroleum blends are intended for use as lubricants, then Viscosity is a critical performance specification. The correct viscosity level can be achieved thanks to SOFRASER Thermoset-LT, which provides viscosity measurement at constant reference. The Thermoset-KV is the only online direct kinematic viscosity analyzer that is easily correlated with ASTM D445. Once these middleweight products have been appropriately blended, they can be shipped across the world to serve any number of end-use applications.
The heavier hydrocarbon products of crude oils must be broken down to yield a suitable product. Unit operations producing or processing high viscosity petroleum streams, like Visbreaking, bottoms of atmospheric distillation and vacuum distillation residues can be monitored by MIVI sensors or Thermoset analyzers for improved process control. Inline analytical systems can provide actionable insights into the performance of cracking and breaking processes to assist plant technicians with yield challenges for tough residues.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SOFRASER.
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