Many refineries must intentionally generate hydrogen to supply all the needs of the hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers.
Refineries with a reformer typically generate a large portion of the hydrogen they need, but often this must be supplemented with intentional hydrogen generation, especially when making ultra-low sulfur fuels or when using a hydrocracker for conversion.
There are two major process options to make hydrogen, using either light ends or fuel oil as a feed:
- Steam reforming - A catalytic process for making hydrogen from steam and a light hydrocarbon such as methane, ethane, or propane
- Partial oxidation - A process for generating hydrogen through partial combustion of fuel oil (to CO) and injection of steam to force production of H2