Industrial Catalysis

Producing petrol

The raw material for petrol is crude oil. Fractional distillation of crude oil produces a number of fractions.

There are two problems:

  • The gasoline fraction (part of the naphtha range of fractions) from the direct distillation of crude oil makes poor petrol. Most of it has to be treated further.
  • The gasoline fraction on its own cannot satisfy the demand for petrol. Other fractions such as gas oil and residue are treated and the products blended together to produce high–grade petrol.

Contents of this section

In this section we'll look at how an internal combustion engine works, what the problems can be and how they are overcome with the formulation of the petrol they burn. Some of the processes in making the petrol use a catalyst (shown in brackets). Use the links below to find out more.

How does a petrol engine work?
Octane number & Isomerisation (platinum)
Reforming & Cracking (platinum) & (zeolite Y)
Controlling exhaust emissions with catalytic converters (platinum) & (zeolite Y)