In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How an oil refinery works

By Marshall Brain

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Every time you pump gas into your gas tank, you are benefiting from one of the most amazing chemical factories know to humans: the oil refinery. An oil refinery produces gasoline as well as many other substances - everything from dry cleaning fluid to petroleum jelly to road tar comes from an oil refinery. Let's go behind the scenes and see how an oil refinery works.

An oil refinery is made possible by the amazing nature of crude oil. When an oil company pumps crude oil out of the ground, it is pumping a mixture of many different substances. All those substances have one thing in common: They are all made of hydrocarbon chains of different lengths. The goal of an oil refinery is to sort out all the different chains by length.

A hydrocarbon chain is simply a molecule made of hydrogen and carbon. Carbon atoms link together to form the backbone of the chain, and then hydrogen atoms attach to the carbons. The simplest hydrocarbon chain has just one carbon atom along with four hydrogen atoms. This hydrocarbon chain is called methane. Methane gas is so light it floats, like helium. When you use natural gas, you are using methane. Ethane is next, with two carbons in the chain.

Once you get five carbon atoms in a chain, you have a liquid, and the liquids get thicker and thicker as the chains get longer. Gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel and motor oil are all made from hydrocarbon chains. Gasoline has between seven and 11 carbons in the chain. Kerosene has between 12 and 15 carbons, and so on. Once you get beyond 20 atoms in a chain, you move from liquids to solids: things like petroleum jelly, paraffin wax and finally tar.

An oil refinery sorts out all these different substances using heat. If you heat crude oil up to 600 degrees centigrade, it boils and all the crude oil evaporates. This crude oil steam then flows into the bottom of a tall distillation column. The column is set up so that, at different heights inside the column, there are different temperature zones. As the crude oil steam rises in the column, it cools, and the different hydrocarbon chains condense out into liquids. There are trays at different levels that collect the different liquids and send them through pipes to storage tanks.

If you were to go back 100 years, an oil refinery was this simple. You had a tank that boiled crude oil and a distillation column to collect the different kinds of hydrocarbons. The big problem with this approach is that only 40 percent of a barrel of oil is naturally gasoline. The rest of the barrel naturally contains longer or shorter chains. Many oil refineries today want to make mostly gasoline, so there needs to be a way to change longer and shorter chains into gasoline, either by putting them together or splitting them apart.

Cracking is the process of breaking longer chains apart. Using heat and catalysts, long hydrocarbon chains break down into shorter, gasoline-length chains. So the refinery might take the paraffin wax from a barrel of crude oil and run it through a cracker. Then it can distill the output of the cracker and extract a lot more gasoline.

The other side of the coin is unification. Here, short hydrocarbon chains link together to form longer chains. A catalyst breaks hydrogen atoms off the end of the chain and links chains together.

Using these techniques, an oil refinery can turn almost everything in a barrel of oil into gasoline-length chains. The chains are blended together to get gasoline that performs perfectly in a car engine.

The final step at a refinery is to purify the gasoline. For example, there might be a step that removes sulfur from the fuel. Another step removes any water and nitrogen compounds.

What comes out of the refinery is gasoline ready to go into a pipeline or tanker truck so that it ends up at your local gas station. From there, you pump it into your tank.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


How landfills work
How the Orion spacecraft works
The cutting edge in HDTV
Redefining the CD
How the HDMI cable scam works
How glow-in-the-dark toys work
How the subprime mortgage crisis works
How gift cards work
How Tasers work
How giant TV screens work
How foreclosure works
How Air Force One works
How wildfire fighting works
How vitamins work
How ejection seats work
How reattaching limbs works
How hot air balloons work
How paparazzi work
How counterfeiting works
How CDs work
How the Edsel worked
How Stinger missiles work
How hybrid cars work
How sharks work
How mosquitoes work
How diesel engines work
How water towers work
How the Dawn mission works
How Kassam rockets work
How the North American Eagle works
Why aren't we flying to work?
How tofu and soy milk work
How Colony Collapse Disorder works
How airbags work
How the U.S. income tax works
How gum works
How caffeine works
How Daylight Saving Time works
How a cruise missile works
How snow making works

© 2007, How Stuff Works Inc. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.