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LETSGEAUX2
Member since Oct 2012
388 posts

Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts

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.


jpggpj
New Orleans Saints Fan
Chair
Member since Oct 2005
2853 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
A catalyst is a chemical used to drive other chemicals to work. It usually enhances or helps create a reaction.


kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
23858 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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MikeD
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2004
1798 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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AutoYes_Clown
Alabama Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Oct 2012
2465 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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 ).


Dooshay
LSU Fan
CEBA
Member since Jun 2011
29772 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
or speeds it up


CQQ
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Feb 2006
13977 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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


jpggpj
New Orleans Saints Fan
Chair
Member since Oct 2005
2853 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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TulaneUVA
Virginia Fan
Member since Jun 2005
21490 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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GregMaddux
LSU Fan
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Jun 2011
13134 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
Well this is certainly the first place I'd come to ask this question. That's for sure


AutoYes_Clown
Alabama Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Oct 2012
2465 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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).

Image: http://www.nationmaster.com/wikimir/images/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/af/Catalyst_effect.png






TulaneUVA
Virginia Fan
Member since Jun 2005
21490 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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


offshoreangler
LSU Fan
713, Texas
Member since Jun 2008
19868 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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OldTigahFot
LSU Fan
Drinkin' with the rocket scientists
Member since Jan 2012
6805 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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.


MikeD
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2004
1798 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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Spirit of Dunson
Columbia Fan
Member since Mar 2007
22101 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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.


TulaneUVA
Virginia Fan
Member since Jun 2005
21490 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
No, please spare us.
This post was edited on 2/4 at 9:12 pm


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GregMaddux
LSU Fan
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Jun 2011
13134 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
He only wants operator knowledge. Or possible pipe fitter


CQQ
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Feb 2006
13977 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
Please do. I want to look more into how gasoline is made from oil.


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Capt ST
LSU Fan
Middle of the Mall
Member since Aug 2011
6871 posts

re: Plant Workers - Question About Catalysts
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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