Fluid catalytic cracking is the standard way for petroleum refining plants to convert low-value feedstocks into valuable end products. However, not all feedstocks can be processed in this way. Heavier feedstock that is difficult to process by catalytic cracking or reforming can be converted by hydrocracking. There are two primary chemical reactions that occur in a hydrocracker: catalytic cracking of heavy hydrocarbons into unsaturated hydrocarbons; and the saturation of these hydrocarbons with hydrogen.
By combining catalytic cracking and hydrogenation to crack feedstock in the presence of hydrogen, hydrocracking produces gasoline and distillate blending streams. Petroleum refining plants can increase their distillate yield by including a hydrocracker in their plant. About a dozen different hydrocracking process schemes are in current use.
Magnetrol® has produced an applications brochure for the petroleum refining industry detailing level measurement challenges and solutions for each step of the refining process. This blog post is part of an occasional series exploring each application in detail.
Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations
Level controls for the catalyst stripper, separator liquid and flash drum liquid must contend with severe process conditions to maintain optimum operation of the hydrocracker. These conditions include elevated temperatures and pressures, the presence of steam and high-pressure hydrogen, and aggressive corrosives. Level instrumentation must be able to withstand these punishing environments and still deliver accurate, reliable measurement.
Level Measurement Solutions
MAGNETROL has produced level measurement solutions for hydrocracking:
- For point level:
Series 3 float-actuated external cage level switch or B40 float-actuated level switch
- For continuous level:
Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar transmitter or E3 Modulevel® displacer-actuated transmitter
- For visual indication:
Atlas or Aurora® magnetic level indicators can be supplied with switches or transmitters
For more information on level measurement solutions for hydrocracking and other petroleum refining applications, download the petroleum refining brochure.