The future of the refinery of petroleum products depends on one important factor; processing which aims at the production of clean fuel. Three important factors hinge on the output and refinery of petroleum products. According to Moro (1304), the future of the refinery will aim at improving transportation, upgrading, and improve quality by use of upgraded hydro-processing technology. Additionally, Moro (1305) argues that attractive features on environmental constraints and power generation would offer attractive features for the refinery of petroleum products. Finally, Moro (1304) maintains that to increase profit margins, industry players will focus on alternative fuels with the aim of countering the dwindling production and refinery of petroleum products. The continued rise of petroleum products has put heavy demands on refinery players to enhance their production, adopt new technologies in production, and apply conventional means to meet the rising demand. Dadong (50) acknowledges that all industry players in the petroleum refinery field are using and applying mature technology, although there are many unresolved challenges still facing the industry. The future of petroleum refinery, therefore, remains unexploited although mature, and advanced technologies are being employed to address current challenges.
Dadong (1305) maintains that future advanced technologies are currently focusing on efficiency and reliability with continued emphasis on turnaround states of refinery and engineering design. The above factors provide the best and most reliable opportunities for safety, efficiency, and production of clean energy. Additionally, Moro (50) argues that the focus areas in petroleum refinery include diagnosis and monitoring, process efficiency, use of advanced controls and instrumentation, improvement in catalytic selectivity and activity plan. The rising demand for advanced material and equipment poses the challenge of getting fast engineering equipment for fabrication in addition to better pricing. For example, the rising demand for 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD model) clearly indicates that the refinery industry is set for major changes and revolution. Linking tools such as Construction Progress and Material Manager with the CAD model has made it easier to track items through procurement, engineering, receipt on-site, commissioning, and construction. Moro (51) maintains that such advances and technologies will enable and improve on efficiency, and production in addition to efficient engineering plant design. The application of the Computer Aided Design has improved engineering methodologies and designs, thereby improving efficiency and productivity.
The development of the nano-engineering focusing on tailored catalysts has been amongst the most advanced and new technologies for the refinery industry. Looking over the past 20 years, hypro processing will be great with continued developments expected in the future. As the use of high-throughput screening continues, improvement in advance catalysts and activity advancement is expected to grow as the world market expands and clean petroleum products become available. Industry players will continue to focus on adopting an integrated approach towards managing operations and catalyst performance in the future. With the continued application of hydro processing operations and FCC units, refineries continue to produce high-quality petroleum products with signs of better and advanced technologies to improve production further. For instance, ART came up with the ApART Catalyst System, which upgraded the FCC feeds to better production and efficiency. The phenomenon has set a positive trend in the refinery industry for better production.
Although it may raise environmental concerns, Moro (52) argues that the use of KBR ROSE skill instead of the use of the vacuum column would be ideal for lifting convertible resid without putting a lot of constraining of high temperatures on the vacuum column. Additionally, the application of selective hydrocracking can offer the best returns on investment while at the same time improve efficiency as it helps in the production of high-octane gas from oil consuming the least amount of hydrogen. Dadong (1306) also argues that game changing techniques and skill in plant design would help improve equipment selection and reliability. While it may not take long before such technologies are applied in the refinery, the need for efficiency and productivity will push industry players to adopt them eventually.
The future is poised to experience developed processes to improve efficiency and productivity with a major focus on meeting the continued rising demand for petroleum products. New opportunities such as, the use of renewable feedstock to produce economical and desirable products. Factors that continue to drive the need for new technologies include environmental regulations, sustainability issues and energy security, increased demand for petroleum products, and the need to increase utilization of current assets and catalyst advancement. On the other hand, Dadong (1306) adds that great technologies would be required to address benzene regulations as low sulfur fuels seem to be in place. Additionally, as the crude slate is becoming heavier, novel and better technology are needed to upgrade their refinery and production. It is no doubt that much is yet to grace petroleum refinery as industry players continue to grapple with emerging challenges and the need to meet market demand. The drive to apply refinery by the use of R&D technology offers a grand opportunity to improve refinery and production of clean energy from petroleum products.
Dadong, L. I. “Crucial Technologies Supporting Future Development of Petroleum Refining Industry.” Chinese Journal of Catalysis 34.1 (2013): 48-60.
Moro, Lincoln F. Lautenschlager. “Process Technology in the Petroleum Refining Industry— Current Situation and Future Trends.” Computers & Chemical Engineering, vol. 27, issue 8-9, 2003,pp. 1303-1305.