Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, has taken delivery of world’s largest single crude distillation column at his refinery site in Lagos.
The equipment which left Sinopec in Ningbo, China, since July 29, 2019, spent about four months following the Maritime Silk Road, a maritime sector that connects China to other parts of the world.
According to Dangote Group, the distinctive tower is the biggest single-train facility used for refining crude and it is the primary unit processor of crude oil into fuels.
Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure at Dangote Group Capt. Rajen Sachar, noted that crude oil consists of various chemical components that have different molecular sizes, molecular weights, and boiling temperatures and that the crude distillation column works on the principle of fractional distillation, leading to the separation of various components in the mixture based on their different boiling points.
“Crude oil enters the top of the column, where the inlet temperature is 165 degrees Celsius, gradually increasing to 357 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the column.
“During this passage, the crude and its vapours pass through a complex web of internal trays to increase the contact time and surface area within the column, with the hot vapors travelling upwards through bubble caps which allow the vapor to pass through the tray with the cooler liquid flowing down the column.
“When the vapour reaches the height within the column where its boiling point is equal to the temperature of the column at that height, it condenses to form a liquid. The liquid then collects on various trays in the column at differing heights from where it is extracted out of the column.
“It is, therefore, critical to controlling the heat load of the column to optimise the crude crack. These separated fractions are mainly middle distillates namely, Naphtha, Jet Fuel, Kerosene, Gasoline, and Gas Oil,” Sachar said.
China’s energy and chemical company, Sinopec says that the atmospheric tower has a length of 112.56 meters, a diameter of 12 meters and 2252 tons unit weight.
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