Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
Posted by LETSGEAUX2 on 2/4 at 8:47 pm
Can you guys explain what a catalyst is and how it is used in oil refining? Is a catalyst just some time of chemical they add to oil to break it down? The things I'm curious about are mainly fluid cracking catalysts and hydro processing catalysts and how they work.


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Posted by jpggpj on 2/4 at 8:49 pm to LETSGEAUX2
A catalyst is a chemical used to drive other chemicals to work. It usually enhances or helps create a reaction.


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Posted by kingbob on 2/4 at 8:50 pm to LETSGEAUX2
A catalyst is a compound that while not participating in a chemical reaction, aids in the efficiency of a chemical reaction. Basically, even though it doesn't react, it speeds up the reaction of the ingredients.


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Posted by MikeD on 2/4 at 8:50 pm to LETSGEAUX2
Google is your friend. It will have a much better explanation than you will get on here.

Catalysts are usually metal. They help a reaction proceed without being consumed in the reaction.



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Posted by AutoYes_Clown on 2/4 at 8:50 pm to jpggpj
quote:

A catalyst is a chemical used to drive other chemicals to work. It usually enhances or helps create a reaction.


Chem 101 answer, but I'm looking forward to plant worker answers (the good answers ).



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Posted by Dooshay on 2/4 at 8:50 pm to jpggpj
or speeds it up


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Posted by CQQ on 2/4 at 8:52 pm to Dooshay
I'm also curious about this. Heard people talking about it today. Is it usually a chemical or metal? And can anyone be more specific to their applications with oil? What is the difference between using a catalyst to refine oil vs. what other refineries do?

This post was edited on 2/4 at 8:54 pm

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Posted by jpggpj on 2/4 at 8:52 pm to AutoYes_Clown
17 years in operations. Was just trying to put it as simple as I could since it seemed you were inexperienced in the field.


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Posted by TulaneUVA on 2/4 at 8:56 pm to CQQ
quote:

What is the difference between using a catalyst to refine oil vs. what other refineries do?


"Refining oil" is a general term. You can have a distillation tower and just boil crude oil, and technically you'd be refining oil. The side streams you get from that tower go to these other units you speak of...distillation towers don't use catalyst. Just basic boiling of crude.



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Posted by GregMaddux on 2/4 at 8:56 pm to LETSGEAUX2
Well this is certainly the first place I'd come to ask this question. That's for sure


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Posted by AutoYes_Clown on 2/4 at 8:57 pm to CQQ
quote:

What is the difference between using a catalyst to refine oil vs. what other refineries do?


Same principle... lowers the required energy to start a reaction. Less energy = more efficiency (more or less).








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Posted by TulaneUVA on 2/4 at 8:59 pm to LETSGEAUX2
quote:

Can you guys explain what a catalyst is and how it is used in oil refining? Is a catalyst just some time of chemical they add to oil to break it down? The things I'm curious about are mainly fluid cracking catalysts and hydro processing catalysts and how they work.


It accelerates/facilitates a reaction...is the best I can describe it. You'd have to get into each specific example.

In terms of FCC, the catalyst is a powder substance that 'flows' with the feed into the unit . The powder+feed is then flung around in a reactor via cyclones and then the powder goes to the re generator to be burned and recirculated. That's your basic FCC unit. There are many variations of this. The catalyst make-up varies but a big component are rare earth metals.

Hydrocracking? I know they are fixed bed reactors, but I have no idea on what the type of catalyst is. I think they are pellet form?


This post was edited on 2/4 at 9:01 pm

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Posted by offshoreangler on 2/4 at 9:01 pm to GregMaddux
Considering the amount of people who work in plants that post on this website, do you know of a better place to ask that will get a quick response?


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Posted by OldTigahFot on 2/4 at 9:06 pm to TulaneUVA
quote:

Hydrocracking? I know they are fixed bed reactors, but I have no idea on what the type of catalyst is.


Many of them use very exotic and expensive metal catalysts like molybdenum and palladium . Usually supported on a bed of some inert material like ceramic.



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Posted by MikeD on 2/4 at 9:10 pm to OldTigahFot
Or it can be a gauze. Plant I go to has platinum gauze. They recover millions in loose metal every turnaround.


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Posted by Spirit of Dunson on 2/4 at 9:10 pm to TulaneUVA
Heterogeneous vs homogeneous catalysts.

Heterogeneous would be your fixed bed (metals on an inert substrate, zeolites, etc).

Homogeneous would be your fluid catalysts you described in the FCC process.

Sometimes catalysts are used for purposes other than just lowering activation energy. They may have a higher yield, better selectivity for a desired product, etc.

I could literally go on for hours about this if anyone wants.



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Posted by TulaneUVA on 2/4 at 9:12 pm to Spirit of Dunson
No, please spare us.

This post was edited on 2/4 at 9:12 pm

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Posted by GregMaddux on 2/4 at 9:13 pm to Spirit of Dunson
He only wants operator knowledge. Or possible pipe fitter


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Posted by CQQ on 2/4 at 9:13 pm to Spirit of Dunson
Please do. I want to look more into how gasoline is made from oil.


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Posted by Capt ST on 2/4 at 9:14 pm to LETSGEAUX2
In refining it takes "heavy" carbon chains and turns them into lighter petroleum which allows them to produce more gasoline and the other high demand fuels. In the end, the refiner should start with a barrel of oil and when it finishes process, they should end up with several gallons more at the end if plant is running properly.


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