Catalytic cracker at an oil refinery

Catalytic cracker at an oil refinery

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Credit: PAUL RAPSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Oil refinery. This is the catalytic cracking area. Catalytic cracking uses high temperature and a catalyst to break down (crack) heavy oil fractions into lighter, more useful oils. The oil is heated to 500 degrees Celsius and passed over a catalyst such as zeolite crystals. The products from oil cracking are often blended together to form a fuel such as petrol, or used as a raw material in the chemical industry. Photographed at ExxonMobil's Fawley Oil Refinery, Hampshire, UK.

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