December 2007

Process Technology

Improve design strategies for refinery vacuum towers

Products yield and specifications with energy conservation goals can determine options to revamp distillation units

Yahyaabadi, R., Esfahan Oil Refining Co.

Many different types of vacuum towers are used in refineries. They are categorized to three types: dry (no coil steam, no stripping steam), wet (damp) without stripping and wet with stripping.1,2 Vacuum units produce feedstocks for further processing in the fluid catalytic cracker (FCC), hydrocracker or lube-oil facility. They may be a fuel-vacuum unit or a lube-vacuum unit. 3 Based on the products produced, vacuum towers use different arrangements. Several examples will explore different strategies for refinery vacuum tower design and revamps. Case 1: Simplest or conventional vacuum tower. A vacuum tower that yields only two distillate products with three fractionation zones (packing be

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