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Cracking is a phenomenon by which large oil molecules are decomposed into small lower boiling molecules. At the same time some of these molecules which are reactive , combine with one another to give even larger molecules than those present in the original stock. The more stable molecules leave the system as gasoline and the reactive ones polymerize forming fuel oil and even coke. Although the primary objective in development of cracking process is to obtain more and more gasoline, all other oils having boiling ranges intermediate between fuel oil and gasoline are also produced.

The unit comprises of three sections: Reactor Regenerator Section (R-R section) Fractionation section Gas concentration section The reaction take place in the catalyst section and resultant is fractionated into different products in the fractionators section, which are concentrated into final products in the gas concentration section. Feed input: Vacuum gas oils(HVGO & LVGO) from CDU’s Products: Fuel gas, LPG , cracked naphtha, diesel component. REACTOR AND REGENERATOR SECTION: Major equipment used: Reactor riser, reactor stripper, level control side valve, turbine driven air blower, regenerator. Process description: For efficient cracking feed is to be heated to 4000C.  The Hot Vacuum Gas Oil’s (HVGO) from CDU’s at a temperature of 60-1200C and cold VGO from offsite tanks at 20-900C is received in the feed surge drum. Feed is preheated in a series of heat exchangers.

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The catalyst section mainly consists of reactors and regenerator. The fresh feed and recycle streams( known as combined feed), enters the reactor riser where it comes in contact with hot catalyst , vapourises and starts to crack at around 475-4950C. The catalyst used is zeolite which is synthetic silica-alumina support matrix with added zeolite, manufactured in the form of fine powder. Although the catalyst is a solid, it is maintained in a “fluidized “ state by reaction products, stream, or air. In the reactor vapour stream goes to the cyclone separator. The catalyst (containing deposited coke, entrained hydrocarbons) falls down to the reactor stripper. The spent catalyst then flows back to the regenerator section. The catalyst is continuously recirculated from reactor to regenerator zone and it acts as a vehicle for heat transfer. In the regenerator the coke is burned off by air. The flue gas from regenerator goes through 2 sets of cyclone separators and can be diverted to CO boiler or to stack. The air rate in the regenerator is maintained such that only partial combustion of coke take place and CO produced is burnt into CO2 in the CO boiler. Reactions: C+O2  CO2 + HEAT C+ 1/2O2 CO + HEAT H2+1/2 O2H2O + HEAT

Fractionation section:
Major equipment used: Slurry settler

The fractionators consists of two sections. Top section is the regular fractionators part and the lower one is quench or desuperheating section. The reaction effluent consisting of cracked hydrocarbon vapours, steam and nonCodensables enter the fractionators at the bottom of quench or desuperheating section. In the quench section, super heated cracked vapours from the reactor are cooled by a circulating slurry pump around and apart of vapours are condensed. The entrained catalyst if any is also scrubbed by slurry pump around steam. To maintain the fractionators bottom at 360OC, a cold quench stream from the settler top and a part of it is returned to the fractionator. Besides the quench stream, most of the slurry stream is normally returned at the top of desuperheating trays. Decanted clarified oil is obtained from the settler top and a part of it is returned to the fractionator.

Combined stream of HCO(heavy cycle oil ) pumped around and product are drawn from chimney tray and unstripped HCO recycle will result in cracking of diesel components into lighter components such as gasoline, etc in the reactor Combined stream of LCO (light cycle oil ) pumped around and product are drawn from chimney tray. A part of cooled LCO stream is used as lean storage oil and is routed to sponge absorber. Overhead vapours consists of naphtha and lighter hydrocarbons together with steam and non-condensables. The 3 phase mixture of non-condensables , hydrocarbons liquid and water from trim condensers is routed to main fractionators accumulator.

GAS CONCENTRATION SECTION: This unit separates lighter hydrocarbons and non-condensables LPG and stabilized naphtha from wet gas. Feed input: Wet gas and unstabilised naphtha streams coming from fractionator overhead accumulator are the feed for gas concentration section. Major equipment used: Compressor suction knock out drum. Process description:     wet gas from main fractionators overhead accumulator is first flashed in compressor suction knock out drum to remove any condensate. The flashed gases from the drum are compressed in a 2 stage centrifugal compressor The mixture of cooled gases condensate and water is flashed in the compressor interstage knock out drum. The mixtures of cooled gas, condensed liquid and water are separated in the HP receiver and the uncondensed vapours are routes to the primary absorber for recovery of C3’s and C4’s

Primary Absorber: o The feed gas from HP receiver is fed at the column bottom while stabilized naphtha is fed at the top tray.

o The net vapours from the primary absorber top are routed to the sponge absorber and column bottom product rich in naphtha is pumped by absorber bottom pump to compressor Compressor after cooler. Sponge Absorber: o The feed gas is introduced at the column bottom below tray 1. o The net off gas obtained from the top is H2S bearing sour gas which flows to Sulphur Recovery Unit (SRU) for removal of H2S. o The rich sponge oil leaving the bottom of the absorber is heated in rich oil/LCO exchangers.

Stripper column: o The stripper column is designed to remove undesirable light hydrocarbons from liquefied C3 + hydrocarbons streams to control vapour pressure of LPG product downstream. o The overhead vapour from stripper is connected with wet gas compressor. o The bottom stream flow to the debutanizer where LPG and stabilized naphtha are separated and routed to Merox Unit.