Hydrotreating is carried out to achieve several important objectives. The first major objective of hydrotreatment is to remove impurities from petroleum products. These impurities, which include sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen, reduce the efficiency of the final products from the refining process. Lawrie states that hydrotreatment results in the conversion of organic sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen compounds to hydrocarbons and hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, or water (223). Through hydrotreatment, the impurities are removed for the control of a final product specification.
The process also aims to change the composition of some renewable fuels to make them similar to fossil fuels. By doing this, hydrotreating makes it possible for biofuels to be used in place of fossil fuels without having to modify the vehicleâ€™s engine (Lawrie 225). This is achieved since the process changes the composition of the renewable fuels into a form that is similar to normal fossil fuels used by vehicles.
Another objective is to remove metals from petroleum products. This objective is fulfilled in a separate guard catalytic reactor where the metallic compounds contained in the petroleum are hydrogenated and decomposed to create metal deposition. Maples reveals that with the increasing mandates in many countries for the burning of cleaner fuels, hydrotreating has become essential in the removal of heavy metals to produce a cleaner-burning fuel (243).
Hydrotreatment is done to convert inferior or low-grade materials into valuable products. Saturate olefins cannot be used as fuel in their unstable compounds. Through hydrotreating, unsaturated compounds are transformed into the corresponding saturated hydrocarbons. This transformation enables the otherwise unusable saturates to be used as fuel (Maples 250). Through hydrotreatment, the productive life of oil, which is our societyâ€™s main energy source, is optimized.
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