FLUIDISED CATALYTIC CRACKER UNIT (FCCU

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The FCCU converts heavy oils into lighter, more volatile materials suitable for use in motor fuels and as chemical feed stocks. The plant was designed for steady state continuous operation and limited start-up and shutdowns were originally anticipated. The FCCU handles a variety of flammable materials which will readily ignite and therefore careful consideration is given to the elimination of potential ignition sources on and in the vicinity of plant and equipment containing flammable substances by the appropriate design of electrical equipment and the elimination of hot surfaces by insulation of pipe work and vessel surfaces. Prevention of a loss of containment of the chemicals from the process vessels and pipe work is a fundamental requirement of the design, operation and maintenance of the FCCU in order to minimize the likelihood of a major accident In its current configuration the FCCU can process approximately 128 tones/hour of "wax" fed from the Vapor Distillation Unit located elsewhere in the Oil Refinery. Process description The FCCU comprises two main sections: The "front end" where "cracking" is carried out in the reactor/catalyst section. Cracking is the process whereby long chain hydrocarbon molecules (large molecules) are broken down into shorter chain molecules (smaller molecules); and The "back end" (or "light ends") where separation of cracked materials is achieved by passing cracked materials through a series of columns. This process is also known as fractionation. The FCCU unit has a total inventory of approximately 120 tonnes of flammable materials with most of the inventory being contained within the fractionator train and various separation and process vessels taking the overheads from the fractionators. Due to the inventory of materials the FCCU meets the definition of a "top tier" installation under the COMAH Regulations and therefore a safety report is required to be prepared.

steam and catalyst pass from the "riser" to the cyclones where the catalyst is separated from the gases. the liquid collected in a reflux drum. The overall coke oxidation process is highly exothermic and produces adequate heat to counteract the heat loss in the cracking reaction. There is a significant heat loss from this part of the reaction.e. The mixture of hydrocarbon gases. The overhead vapors which come off the top of the fractionating column are partially condensed. The catalyst then flows to the Regenerator where the carbon is burnt off by a stream of air and the carbon is oxidized to give carbon monoxide (CO). and to provide a source of heat for the columns in the "back end" section of the plant. heavy gas oil and decanted oils. which is then further oxidized to give carbon dioxide in the new CO-boiler.4 bar) and separates the incoming feed from the "front end" section of the plant into a number of different product streams including gasoline. gas oil and fuel oil. A number of different columns are present in this section for the separation of individual products. Main fractionating column (E1) The Main Fractionators operates at high temperature (about 500oC). The purpose of this section is to separate the newly formed reactor products into various distillation fractions such as fuel gas. FCCU operations are complex and involve many different recycle and heat recovery systems within the processes described below. broken down) into smaller more volatile compounds and coke (basically carbon) is deposited onto the catalyst particles. LPG and components for blending into motor spirit. . low pressure (0.A "simplified" description of FCCU operations is given below. the gases compressed and cooled and the condensed liquids are combined with the liquids in the reflux drum. The wet gases are routed via a compressor into the Vapor Recovery Unit which consists of a number of additional columns identified below. light gas oil. The oils are "cracked" (i. diesel. Back End ± Light Ends/Fractionation From the cyclones and the Reactor the hydrocarbon gases and steam pass to the "light ends" section consisting of a number of fractionation columns. Front End ± Reactor/Catalyst Section Heavy oils and steam are fed into a "riser" where they contact an up flowing stream of hot catalyst particles (zeolite). The catalyst drops into the stripping section of the reactor where residual hydrocarbons are stripped off the catalyst by steam.

The liquid from the base of the column is pumped to the next column. (Zone 2 indicates a zone in which a flammable atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation and if it does occur only exist for a short time. Debutanizer column (E5) The column which operates at about 12 bar and 190oC takes feed from E4. The LPG components (propane/butane) are distilled off the top of the column as a mixture and fed into the Depropaniser column (E7) ± see below. In the Re-run column the feed is separated into light and heavy gasoline products and a residue which is recycled from the base of the tower. Depropaniser column (E7) The feed from the Debutanizer column (E5) is separated and used as either chemical feed stocks or blended into LPG products from other parts of the Complex. BP has classified the whole of the Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) ("back end" of the FCCU) as Zone 2 for electrical classification purposes with a few Zone 1 areas. ("flashing" refers to the instantaneous change of state from liquid to gas that occurs when liquid is fed through a control valve which drops the pressure of the liquid and the temperature of the liquid on the downstream side of the control valve is then greater than the boiling point of the liquid at that new pressure). The heavier material (Debutanizer bottoms) which is similar to petrol is removed from the base of the column and routed into the Re-run column (E6). This is a low pressure column operating typically at about 2 bars. Re-run column (E6) Debutanizer bottoms are fed into the rerun column via a heat exchanger (C25) before being "flashed" across a control valve. Zone 1 indicates a zone in which a flammable atmosphere is likely to occur for a short period of time during normal operation. . The unabsorbed gases pass from the top of the column into the Oil Refinery fuel gas system or to the flare system.Absorber/stripper column (E4) The overhead product from the Main Fractionators is contacted with a stream of wash oil. Zone 0 indicates a zone in which a flammable atmosphere is likely to be continuously present or present for long periods). There are no Zone 0 areas. This column is also operated at around 12 bar. The electrical equipment is appropriately certified for use in such areas.

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