Industrial facilities such as refineries install many components in order to produce the end products by passing the inputs through different stages of throughput. This may be too technical, but it can be clearly observed that the complexity of various components included in a refinery can result in notable ambiguities pertaining to the design of a petroleum refinery. However, measurement devices are in place to make sure that every nook and corner of a refinery in functioning according to the standard guidelines. In the following discussion, let us understand a bit more in detail about Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units (FCCU) and their functions in the petroleum refineries.

What is the use of an FCCU?

As reported by, prior to the development of an understanding about the significance of measuring level and density in FCCU, it would be appropriate to reflect on the functions of an FCC unit. The primary function of FCCU is observed in the conversion of a certain share of crude petroleum oils with high-boiling and higher molecular weight hydrocarbons into useful fuels such as butane, gasoline, propane and a range of other products. These processes are handled by the FCCU through the use of a chemical catalyst.

Benefits that show up:

The FCCU implements the chemical process termed as cracking for breaking down larger hydrocarbons into smaller molecules in the presence of excessive heat and a catalyst. The common catalysts utilized in FCCUs are aluminium hydrosilicate, zeolite, silica-alumina, and bauxite. The FCCUs are made up of a reactor and a catalyst regenerator and are connected by risers which are the sites of reactions. The need for measuring level and density in FCCU could be observed on the grounds of benefits such as improvement of productivity, recognition of issues and efficient planning for maintenance.

Things to gain from level and density measurements:

A clear reflection into the advantages from level and density measurements in the FCCU could provide insightful information about their necessity. The applications presented below can provide a detailed description for the need for measurement tools for level and density in FCCU.

  • The level measurements in the regenerator and reactor could be considerably helpful for reorientation of the level instruments and efficient running of the unit.
  • The measurement of catalyst level in the primary cyclone separator in the reactor or regenerator could provide an accurate picture of the events happening in the riser.
  • The measurement of density through contemporary tools can provide a comprehensive cross-sectional density profile. This density profile can be used for recognizing issues such as the inappropriate distribution of catalyst due to plugged or defective nozzles.
  • Measurement of level and density in FCCU is also essential for observation of distinct flow patterns in the key areas of the FCC. This can provide vital information about velocity, residence time and distribution thereby leading to opportunities for tailoring operations to accomplish optimal results and resolving the identified concerns.

Don’t rush it!

The selection of appropriate technology and tools to measure level and density in FCCU could be a difficult task without the appropriate guidance. Therefore, it is essential to keep in mind that measurements in an FCC would include fluidised solids at high temperatures and conventional measurement techniques could not perform as required in such settings. So, it becomes mandatory to do thorough research on all available options in the market before making a final decision.

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