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Simulation of fluid catalytic cracking operation

By Ihab H. Farag and Kun-Yung Tsai


AbstractSince its introduction in 1942 the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) has been the most important and widely used process for the production of gasoline from heavy distillates. In most refineries the capacity of the FCC unit is second only to that of the crude distillation unit. Often an FCC unit is referred to as the heart of a modern refinery oriented toward maximum production of gasoline.The basic step in the FCC process is the recirculation of the catalyst through the reactor, stripping and regenerator. In the reactor system the hydrocarbon feed is heated and cracked. Coke (or carbon) may be produced and may deposit on the catalyst reducing its activity and selectivity. When the catalyst is circulated to the regenerator carbon is burned off causing the heating of the catalyst before its return to the reactor part. The products from the reactor are separated in a main fractionator into gas and liquid streams normally including a recycle feed to the reactor.The operation of an FCC unit requires the manipulation of a large number of controlled variables affecting its performance. Major process variables such as reactor temperature, catalyst circulation rate, catalyst inventory and recycle feed rate can be varied to influence the product yields and to accomodate widely different feedstocks. Unpredictable variation can occur in feed stock, catalyst quality and equipment performance. Most normal variation can be accomodated by a small change in operating conditions.For a new plant, comparison of actual versus predicted performance provides a valuable check on the validity of the design correlations and a guide for future laboratory and engineering research.The objectives of the present work are to simplify the complicated FCC process variables and to develop a computer model to simulate the operation of an FCC at different conditions. This includes the prediction of the effects of the operating variables on the reactor product yields. These products include fuel gas, C3, C4 gasoline, light gas oil and coke. The model provides a good base for troubleshooting and debottlenecking and may be useful in optimal control of the FCC

Publisher: Published by Elsevier B.V.
Year: 1987
DOI identifier: 10.1016/0270-0255(87)90596-3
OAI identifier:

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