Environment Friendly, Higher Refining Margins.
In February 2006, Preem completed the Isocracker project at the refinery in Lysekil, Sweden. The facility converts high-sulfur vacuum gas oil into sulfur-free diesel and gasoline. The investment totaled SEK 3.1 billion, which was 10 % below the estimate, and the project was completed ahead of time. The investment comprised 1.7 million manhours at site and at its most, 1 200 people were employed with the project.
The Iso-cracker project is primarily an environmental project. A European Union directive stipulates that all gasoline and diesel must be sulphur-free from beginning of 2008. The ambition by EU is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from vehicles by increasing the effectiveness of car engines. To achieve this, engine manufacturers demanded high-quality fuel, since the new generation of catalytic converters do not tolerate sulphur.
In turn, a shift to sulphur-free fuels leads to a reduction of nitric oxide, hydrocarbon and particle emissions from exhaust fumes. Pollution problems in urban areas will thereby be significantly reduced.
The Iso-cracker project consists of thee parts:
- The Iso-cracker which removes the sulphur and converts fuel into diesel. It operates at a pressure of 140 bar, which implies high strength steel suitable to withstand the high-pressure. The two reactors of 600 ton each were purchased from Japan
- The hydrogen installation that supplies the process with the necessary volumes of hydrogen
- Utility systems for steam, water, power and infrastructure
The Isocracker gives the Lysekil refinery a much higher upgrading capability which makes it possible to reduce production of heating oil to a minimum and increase production of transportation fuels. Furthermore, investments in increased de-sulfurization capacity make it now possible to increase the utilization of high-sulfur crude oil up to 100 %.