Plant Upgrades Maximize Efficiency for Midwest Refinery

A Midwest oil refinery, in operation since the early 1900s by one of the largest integrated energy companies in the U.S., decided to complete much needed updates to its catalytic cracking system. The refinery has processing capacity of 306 million barrels per day, making it a vital component of the company's operations. It receives domestic and foreign crude oil via pipelines to produce a high percentage of transportation fuels.   Upon completion of the upgrades in 2015, the plant will become one the top-five largest domestic refineries, also producing natural gas and sulfur-rich coke for area power plants.

Download the Catalytic Cracking Case Study to learn more about the high-speed motor technology and medium voltage drive solution Siemens utilized to upgrade the refinery's aging catalytic cracking system.

With 30-year-old equipment nearing the end of its life-cycle, upgrading the four existing 4,500-horsepower motors that power dual catalytic cracking units (CCUs) was necessary to increase reliability, lower maintenance costs, and most important, provide uninterrupted service for five years.

The answer to the challenge was a combination of technology, an in-depth understanding of products and situation, in addition to expertise in delivering one of the first solutions of its kind to the refinery.

Each Catalytic Cracking Unit would be supported by two, 4,500, 4.5kV, 78-105 hz (4,700 - 6,300 rpm) totally enclosed water-to-air cooled high-speed motors, complete with active magnetic bearing (AMB) systems.  These were the first of it's kind installed in the U.S. and used in a refinery. This technology, and the motor and drive solution is covered in great detail in the case study.


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