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Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) is the conversion process used in petroleum refineries to convert the high-boiling point, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum (crude oils) into gasoline, olefinic gases, and other petroleum products. The cracking of petroleum hydrocarbons was originally done by thermal cracking, now virtually replaced by catalytic cracking, which yields greater volumes of high octane rating gasoline; and produces by-product gases, with more carbon-carbon double bonds (i.e. olefins), that are of greater economic value than the gases produced by thermal cracking.
Oil refineries use fluid catalytic cracking to correct the imbalance between the market demand for gasoline and the excess of heavy, high boiling range products resulting from the distillation of crude oil.
FCC units are less common in EMEA because those regions have high demand for diesel and kerosene, which can be satisfied with hydrocracking. In the US, fluid catalytic cracking is more common because the demand for gasoline is higher.
The reactor is a vessel in which the cracked product vapors are: (a) separated from the spent catalyst by flowing through a set of two-stage cyclones within the reactor and (b) the spent catalyst flows downward through a steam stripping section to remove any hydrocarbon vapors before the spent catalyst returns to the catalyst regenerator. The flow of spent catalyst to the regenerator is regulated by a slide valve in the spent catalyst line.
Since the cracking reactions produce some carbonaceous material (referred to as catalyst coke) that deposits on the catalyst and very quickly reduces the catalyst reactivity, the catalyst is regenerated by burning off the deposited coke with air blown into the regenerator. The regenerator operates at a temperature of about 715 °C and a pressure of about 2.41 bar, hence the regenerator operates at about 0.7 bar higher pressure than the reactor. The combustion of the coke is exothermic and it produces a large amount of heat that is partially absorbed by the regenerated catalyst and provides the heat required for the vaporization of the feedstock and the endothermic cracking reactions that take place in the catalyst riser. For that reason, FCC units are often referred to as being 'heat balanced'.
The reaction product vapors (at 535 °C and a pressure of 1.72 bar) flow from the top of the reactor to the bottom section of the main column (commonly referred to as the main fractionator where feed splitting takes place) where they are distilled into the FCC end products of cracked petroleum naphtha, fuel oil, and offgas. After further processing for removal of sulfur compounds, the cracked naphtha becomes a high-octane component of the refinery's blended gasolines.
Although the schematic flow diagram above depicts the main fractionator as having only one sidecut stripper and one fuel oil product, many FCC main fractionators have two sidecut strippers and produce a light fuel oil and a heavy fuel oil. Likewise, many FCC main fractionators produce a light cracked naphtha and a heavy cracked naphtha. The terminology light and heavy in this context refers to the product boiling ranges, with light products having a lower boiling range than heavy products.
In the cracking process carbon is also produced which gets deposited on the catalyst (catalyst coke). The carbon formation tendency or amount of carbon in a crude or FCC feed is measured with methods such as Micro carbon residue, Conradson carbon residue, or Ramsbottom carbon residue.
In 1933, Houdry and Socony-Vacuum joined with Sun Oil Company in developing the Houdry process. Three years later, in 1936, Socony-Vacuum converted an older thermal cracking unit in their Paulsboro refinery in New Jersey to a small demonstration unit using the Houdry process to catalytically crack 2,000 barrels per day (320 m3/d) of petroleum oil.
In 1937, Sun Oil began operation of a new Houdry unit processing 12,000 barrels per day (1,900 m3/d) at their Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania. The Houdry process at that time used reactors with a fixed bed of catalyst and was a semi-batch operation involving multiple reactors with some of the reactors in operation while other reactors were in various stages of regenerating the catalyst. Motor-driven valves were used to switch the reactors between online operation and offline regeneration and a cycle timer managed the switching. Almost 50 percent of the cracked product was gasoline as compared with about 25 percent from the thermal cracking processes.
This fluid catalytic cracking process had first been investigated in the 1920s by Standard Oil of New Jersey, but research on it was abandoned during the economic depression years of 1929 to 1939. In 1938, when the success of Houdry's process had become apparent, Standard Oil of New Jersey resumed the project, hopefully in competition with Houdry, as part of a consortium of that include five oil companies (Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of Indiana, Anglo-Iranian Oil, Texas Oil and Royal Dutch Shell), two engineering-construction companies (M. W. Kellogg Limited and Universal Oil Products) and a German chemical company (I.G. Farben). The consortium was called Catalytic Research Associates (CRA) and its purpose was to develop a catalytic cracking process which would not impinge on Houdry's patents.
Chemical engineering professors Warren K. Lewis and Edwin R. Gilliland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggested to the CRA researchers that a low velocity gas flow through a powder might "lift" it enough to cause it to flow in a manner similar to a liquid. Focused on that idea of a fluidized catalyst, researchers Donald Campbell, Homer Martin, Eger Murphree and Charles Tyson of the Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon-Mobil Company) developed the first fluidized catalytic cracking unit. Their U.S. Patent No. 2,451,804, A Method of and Apparatus for Contacting Solids and Gases, describes their milestone invention. Based on their work, M. W. Kellogg Company constructed a large pilot plant in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana refinery of the Standard Oil of New Jersey. The pilot plant began operation in May 1940.
Based on the success of the pilot plant, the first commercial fluid catalytic cracking plant (known as the Model I FCC) began processing 13,000 barrels per day (2,100 m3/d) of petroleum oil in the Baton Rouge refinery on May 25, 1942, just four years after the CRA consortium was formed and in the midst of World War II. A little more than a month later, in July 1942, it was processing 17,000 barrels per day (2,700 m3/d). In 1963, that first Model I FCC unit was shut down after 21 years of operation and subsequently dismantled.
In the many decades since the Model I FCC unit began operation, the fixed bed Houdry units have all been shut down as have most of the moving bed units (such as the TCC units) while hundreds of FCC units have been built. During those decades, many improved FCC designs have evolved and cracking catalysts have been greatly improved, but the modern FCC units are essentially the same as that first Model I FCC unit.
Dave Fridman confirmed that there's some Reaktor sprinkled all over The Terror. "I'm a big fan of the Native Instruments stuff. It works great and sounds great." Again opting for the Metaphysical Function, "anything that has a 'random' button, then I'm a big fan," he laughs. "I just tend to crack it open and hit random until something happens."
This work describes the application and the results of transient calculations for the RBMK-1000 with the coupled code system ATHLET 2.2A-QUABOX/CUBBOX which was developed in GRS. Within these studies the planned modernization of the graphite blocks of the RBMK-1000 reactor is taken into account. During the long-term operation of the uranium-graphite reactors RBMK-1000, a change of physical and mechanical properties of the reactor graphite blocks is observed due to the impact of radiation and temperature effects. These have led to a deformation of the reactor graphite columns and, as a result, a deformation of the control and protection system (CPS) and of fuel channels. Potentially, this deformation can lead to problems affecting the smooth movement of the control rods in the CPS channels and problems during the loading and unloading of fuel assemblies. The present paper analyzes two reactivity insertion transients, each taking into account three graphite removal scenarios. The presented work is directly connected with the modernization program of the RBMK-1000 reactors and has an important contribution to the assessment of the safety-relevant parameters after the modification of the core graphite blocks.
Automated moment tensor inversion routines have been setup in the last decades for the analysis of global and regional seismicity. Recent developments could be used to analyse smaller events and larger datasets. In particular, applications to microseismicity, e.g. in mining environments, have then led to the generation of large moment tensor catalogues. Moment tensor catalogues provide a valuable information about the earthquake source and details of rupturing processes taking place in the seismogenic region. Earthquake focal mechanisms can be used to discuss the local stress field, possible orientations of the fault system or to evaluate the presence of shear and/or tensile cracks. Focal mechanism and moment tensor solutions are typically analysed for selected events, and quick and robust tools for the automated analysis of larger catalogues are needed. We propose here a method to perform cluster analysis for large moment tensor catalogues and identify families of events which characterize the studied microseismicity. Clusters include events with similar focal mechanisms, first requiring the definition of distance between focal mechanisms. Different metrics are here proposed, both for the case of pure double couple, constrained moment tensor and full moment tensor catalogues. Different clustering approaches are implemented and discussed. The method is here applied to synthetic and real datasets from mining environments to demonstrate its potential: the proposed cluserting techniques prove to be able to automatically recognise major clusters. An important application for mining monitoring concerns the early identification of anomalous rupture processes, which is relevant for the hazard assessment. This study is funded by the project MINE, which is part of the R&D-Programme GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. The project MINE is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Grant of project BMBF03G0737. 2b1af7f3a8