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How Is Diesel Fuel Made From Crude Oil?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Diesel fuel is one of the products created from crude oil. During the refining process, the viscous dark thick crude oil is turned into the much lighter diesel fuel. We must first understand what crude oil is and then how petroleum diesel fuel is produced. There are methods to creating diesel fuel other than the traditional method.

Understanding crude oil

To understand where diesel fuel comes from, an understanding about crude oil is necessary. Crude oil is a naturally occurring liquid that can be refined into various fuels and other petroleum-based products. It is through the process of distillation that crude oil transforms into the different fuels and petroleum-based products.

At the molecular level, crude oil is made up of various kinds of hydrocarbons (chains of hydrogen and carbon). The hydrocarbon chains in crude oil come in various lengths. Longer hydrocarbon chains have a higher boiling point than those of shorter lengths. Distillation takes advantage of the differences in boiling points to separate the various distillates from crude oil.

How is petroleum diesel fuel produced?

Crude oil refining starts with heating up the viscous liquid to over 400 degrees Celsius. This process turns the liquid into a vapor. The vapor then enters a fractional distillation tower. As the vapor rises, it starts to cool down. The vapor reaches a certain temperature point and the hydrocarbon chains within it return to a liquid state. At different levels of the tower are distillation plates that capture the liquids as they emerge.

The longest hydrocarbon chains have a boiling point over 400 degrees celsius. As soon as the chains enter the distillation tower, they start turning into liquid again. This emerges as asphalt or bitumen and exits at the bottom. As the vapor rises, shorter hydrocarbon chains begin to liquefy. Fuel oil emerges when the vapor cools down below 370 degrees celsius. This process continues up the tower, with various distillates emerging as the vapor cools further.

When the vapor reaches between 200 and 350 degrees celsius, diesel fuel begins to emerge. The vapor collects on the distillation plates where it is siphoned off into a diesel holding tank.

Other methods for creating diesel fuel

The distillation process extracts shorter and shorter hydrocarbon chains as rises in the tower. The shortest chains emerge at the top as a vaporous gas.

Another option for creating diesel fuel is to recombine some of these shorter hydrocarbon chain distillates. When added together at specific proportions, the hydrocarbons combined create diesel fuel. This creates a diesel fuel that is ready to have required additives blended in and then it is ready for sale.

If you need a wholesale fuel supplier, contact Kendrick Oil today. We offer clear diesel, dyed diesel, bio-diesel, and winterized diesel. If you have any questions about any of our fuel products and services, give us a call at (800) 299-3991.You can also connect with us via email through our Contact Us page.