How To Separate Diesel From Gasoline
How To Separate Diesel From Gasoline – Fuels used in modern automobiles, such as gasoline, diesel or Liquid Petroleum Gas, must meet high purity standards in order for automobile engines to run smoothly.
Crude oil is broken down into contained hydrocarbons in a fractionation column. Lighter hydrocarbons, including gasoline, exit at the top of the column, while heavier hydrocarbons, such as diesel, are separated at the bottom.
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Modern fuels must be volatile enough to ignite quickly in harsh conditions and have the right hydrocarbon mixture to burn evenly enough to develop useful power for internal combustion engines. The fuel must also have the correct octane number to prevent pinking (premature explosion), which can cause engine damage.
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Consistent quality is important with modern fuels as internal combustion engines are tailored to operate with specific fuel qualities and tuned to operate fairly close to the limits that the fuel can support.
Both gasoline and diesel are derived from crude oil, which is a complex mixture of hundreds of hydrocarbons and other products that must be removed during refining. Crude oil varies from source to source. They usually contain a light volatile liquid. Gasoline as well as much heavier and almost harder components such as bitumen.
Separating and refining gasoline and diesel from crude oil requires complex processes performed in refineries.
Oils are refined into their constituents through a process called fractional distillation. It takes advantage of the fact that it boils and vaporizes at different temperatures to separate the different components of crude oil.
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The first process is carried out in a sorting column, a cylindrical tower up to 75 meters high, inside which 30-40 trays, called sorting trays, are stacked one by one. The bottom of the column stays very hot, but the temperature drops as you go up the column, so each tray is slightly cooler than the tray below it.
Crude oil is preheated to 315-370°C to vaporize all but the heaviest components. It is then fed to the bottom of the fractionation column as a mixture of gas and liquid. Oil vapor rises from the column through a device such as a bubble cap on a fractionation platform that is thoroughly mixed with the existing liquid. The heavier and still liquid oil moves to the bottom of the column.
As the steam rises, the tray cools as the temperature drops. Whenever steam enters a vessel containing a liquid at the same temperature as the boiling point of one of the steam components and froths, that component condenses on a tray. Other vapors with higher boiling points move upwards in the column.
In this way, each component of the vapor meets the substrate on which the vapor is condensed. The result is a series of separate components called fractions, which can be pulled out of the column through tubes.
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There are six main fountains. The lightest, gases that still remain gaseous when they reach the top of the column are called refinery gases and are used as fuel in the refinery itself.
The rest is still processed in additional facilities. The lightest of the resulting liquid fractions are highly volatile and are used for mixing with gasoline.
Next comes naphtha (which is further refined into petrochemicals or blended into gasoline), kerosene (which is paraffin in nature), diesel oil, light and heavy oils used in industrial lubrication, and the heaviest fraction, bitumen. It will remain as a residue.
The basic fractional distillation process separates crude oil into pure chemical hydrocarbons. However, some of these hydrocarbons are more valuable than others. In particular, the demand for gasoline is much higher than for bitumen or diesel. So some of the heavier parts are converted to gasoline at the refinery. This is done by a process called cracking.
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In pyrolysis, hydrocarbons are heated to 450-540 °C at high pressure. The result is a low-quality fuel, which is re-refined at higher temperatures and pressures to produce gasoline of sufficient quality for use in automobile engines.
Catalytic cracking is more advantageous than thermal cracking because it provides a higher yield of useful products. The addition of a catalyst (usually alumina-silica powder) to the oil during the preheat stage allows the heavy fraction to be broken down into a mixture of lighter fractions and then fed to a fractionation column for separation.
This conversion is followed by process steps where appropriate additives are added to make a blended gasoline suitable for winter or summer use.
In order for gasoline to be used in an internal combustion engine, it must have certain properties. It should burn evenly in the engine over a wide range of speeds and powers without explosion. This appears as a “knock” and can lead to serious engine damage if allowed to continue.
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Gasoline must contain some volatile components that make it easier to start the engine in cold weather. However, gasoline must not be volatile enough to evaporate so easily that the fuel system can lock or even freeze the carburetor (side photo, see right).
The performance of gasoline is mainly measured by its octane number. To find out, gasoline is compared to two standard fuels with known performance, n-heptane and isooctane, both of which are hydrocarbons. N-Heptane is a bad fuel for internal combustion engines and causes severe knocking. The octane number is 0. Iso-octane, on the contrary, is a very high quality fuel and has an octane rating of 100.
If gasoline has an octane number of 90, it provides the same performance as 90 parts isooctane and 10 parts heptane. Most car engines require gasoline with an octane rating of 90-100.
It is still standard practice to add small amounts of tetraethyl or tetramethyl lead to gasoline as an anti-knock measure. However, this continues to be limited by lead toxicity.
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The maximum amount of lead allowed in gasoline was lowered from 0.4 g per liter to 0.15 g per liter in 1986, and unleaded gasoline began to appear on the European market. This is unleaded gasoline.
The fuel (the portion that evaporates at a certain temperature) must meet certain limits. If the volatility is too low, the car’s engine is difficult to start and takes a long time to warm up. If it is too high, the motor
. In extreme cases, volatile fuels can freeze the carburetor. This is because as the fuel evaporates, it absorbs heat from the surroundings and cools the carburetor body so much that the water in the air freezes and blocks the jets.
Diesel fuel is more viscous, heavier and less volatile than gasoline and keeps the fractionation column at a lower level.
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Diesel fuel is not classified by octane like gasoline. Instead, a cetane number is specified. This can be achieved by comparing diesel to two different hydrocarbons, cetane and alpha-methylnaphthalene.
High-quality diesel fuel used in road vehicles has a cetane number of around 50, while low-speed engines such as large ships can use fuels with a lower cetane number. The higher the cetane number, the easier it is to start, the smoother the combustion, and the lower the “diesel knock” level.
Some low-quality diesels used for stationary or off-road use (called gas oil) are color-coded for identification and hence are referred to as red diesel. Only white diesel for which road tax has been paid can be used legally.
Diesel fuels such as gasoline usually have important additives. Diesel fuel used in cold weather requires the addition of antifreeze and wax removers to prevent clogging of fuel lines and nozzles.
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At the refinery, gasoline and diesel are transported by road or rail to garages and gas stations in specially designed tankers.
Fuel is usually stored in an underground tank below the front yard at the gas station’s point of sale. Gasoline and diesel fuel, like other types of gasoline, are stored in different tanks until they are lifted above the ground by pumps for sale.
The load tanker fills the underground storage tank with hoses from the vehicle, and the tanker driver connects with each fill. Due to the explosion hazard caused by gasoline vapors, the spark hazard was minimized by using materials such as brass for the hose connections and the tools used to connect them.
Fuel is stored underground at gas stations until sold, and as the pump lifts gasoline from the tank above the ground, it simultaneously measures the amount of fuel sold. Gasoline and diesel are usually stored separately.
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