The Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) is considered to be heart of any modern refinery. I started hearing this since I started my career around 20 years back in early 1997. I started working on my First refinery and First Catalytic Cracking unit Project in the green field but was not very much convinced at that point of time how FCCU can be HEART of any refinery. But, now having spend almost my entire career on execution of Grass root and Revamps of World largest Crackers in the country am totally convinced that FCCU is heart of any refinery. So, like our heart which if taken proper care will lead us to have longer and healthy life, a well executed, operated and maintained cracking unit will have trouble free operation, require minimum shutdown, shorter shutdown duration’s and maximum refinery margins i.e. GRM leading to maximized overall profitability of the refinery.
In my professional career so far, I have worked on the following world largest crackers.
Green Field Projects:
- 200 KBPSD FCCU at Reliance DTA Refinery (FCCU-1) with UOP licensed Technology (1997 to 1999) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
- 200 KBPSD Rx-Cat (Rich Cat) at Reliance SEZ Refinery (FCCU-2) with UOP Licensed Technology (2006 to 2009) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
- 4.17 MMTPA INDMAX FCCU (maximising LPG) at IOCL Paradip with ABB-Lummus/ IOCL Licensed Technology (2010 to 2012) at Paradip, Orissa, India – First commercial unit with INDMAX technology.
- 1550 KTA, Refinery Off Gas Cracker at Reliance Jamnagar J3 Project with Technip Licensed Technology (2013 to 2015) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
Brown Field / Revamp Projects:
- Capacity upgradation from 180 KBPSD to 200 KBPSD and Revamp of FCCU-1 at Reliance DTA Refinery (2003 to 2005) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
- Second Revamp of 200 KBPSD FCCU-1 (2009 to 2010) at Jamnagar, Gujrat, India
Most Common FCC Problems:
- Poor Reactor Performance
- Poor Stripper Performance
- Poor Regeneration
- Poor Cyclone Performance
- Maintenance of Catalyst Properties
- Installation and maintenance of Refractory Lining.
Like our heart, FCCU operational and mechanical problems can be very widely due to the complexity and the dynamics of the process. There are common threads that link almost all units together such as Riser Cracking, full or complete combustion regeneration, stripping, reaction catalyst and fluidisation. The majority of the problems encountered are typically central to these shared elements. In most instances, problem resolution can be accomplished by a fundamental understanding of critical aspects in FCCU and application of some basic responses.