Crude oil occurs naturally. It can be refined into other fuels and petroleum products through the process of distillation. Distillation uses the different boiling points to separate the crude oil.
Different types of hydrocarbons are in crude oil, all with different lengths.
Longer hydrocarbons – higher boiling point.
- The liquid gets heated to around 400 degrees, changing the liquid to a vapour. The vapour then enters a fractional distillation tower. When the vapour reaches a certain temperature, it will return to a liquid – there are plates within the tower to capture the liquid at certain temperatures.When vapour rises, the shorter hydrocarbons will liquefy. Oil will emerge if cooled below 370 degrees.When the vapour reaches between 200 and 350 degrees Celsius, diesel fuel begins to emerge. It is then extracted for use.
This extracts shorter hydrocarbon chains.The shortest chain will emerge at the top of the tank as a gas.
Another way throught distillation process is to recombine some of these shorter hydrocarbon chain distillates. When put together, the hydrocarbons become diesel fuel – addivties then need to be added to make it ‘safer’.
An alternative to diesel is the introduction of biofuels – all made from organic matter.