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What is a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit?

Fluid Catalytic Cracking units are an essential component for petroleum refineries to help process raw crude oil into gasoline. Catalytic cracking allows an oil refinery to produce gasoline with higher octane ratings than other processes such as thermal cracking. Because of the demand for higher octane gasoline and fuel oils in the United States, FCC cyclones for refineries are much more common here, than in Europe and Asia where diesel and kerosene are in greater demand. These can be produced using the process of thermal hydrocracking.

How a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit Works

Heavy crude oil–also known as feedstock–is heated to a high temperature under a moderate pressure and then a hot, powdered catalyst is introduced to the mix. This catalyst then breaks the long feedstock oil molecules into very short molecules which are transformed into a vapor that is collected within the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit in distillation towers downstream from this part of the process. While the remainder forms as coke, which is then burned to provide the heat for this entire catalytic process. This process also forms flue gas which is then used to recover waste power and heat.

The Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units are continually working converting feedstock into more usable petroleum-based products such as fuel oils, gasoline and light cycle oil, and operate all day and all night from anywhere between three to five years, depending on when that particular FCC unit requires a shutdown for routine maintenance. The FCC units are a highly efficient at using and reusing components of the original crude feedstock oil for this process.

Residue Fluid Catalytic Cracking (RFCC) vs. Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC)

A Residue Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit is an upgraded version of the FCC. It upgrades the heavy oil feedstock by feeding atmospheric residue oils or vacuum residue oils into the catalytic process to reduce waste in the process.

Need an FCC Cyclone for Refineries?

Ducon has successfully installed hundreds of FCC and RFCC Cyclone units since the 1960’s all over the world. Our FCCs achieve over 99.9% catalyst collection efficiencies on particles down to 5 microns. Learn more about Ducon’s FCC and RFCC High Efficiency Cyclones by filling out our online contact form, or completing our proposal request form.