New Age Topping Plant for Regional Refining and Regional Power Generation | AIChE

New Age Topping Plant for Regional Refining and Regional Power Generation


Conference Presentation

Conference Type

AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety

Presentation Date

March 26, 2024


12 minutes

Skill Level




History of Topping Plants:

The US military began operating topping plant refineries in remote locations during World War II to provide fuel for the war effort. In 1944 General MacArthur requested the US Army develop the Klamano oil fields in Papua New Guinea to provide basic atmospheric refining to produce diesel and aviation fuel for the continued Allied advance across the Pacific.

Since that time, topping plant refineries have evolved from crude 1st Generation open flame distillation of crude oil to 2nd Generation - Modular Refineries using fired process heaters and smaller footprints, and finally to the 3rd Generation – Turbo Refinery that utilize a gas turbine generator at its core and recovers waste heat from the turbine exhaust, through CHP to distil crude oil while simultaneously producing robust, excess electric power.

The heart of the Turbo Refinery is a simple atmospheric distillation column (ADU) for crude oil, which is exactly the same as a topping plant refinery, that has been in service since WWII. As such this technology has been in use for nearly 80 years in hundreds of small and large refineries worldwide.

This 3rd Generation Turbo Refinery is design around a CHP gas turbine generator in the range of 2.0 MW and a proprietary WHRU as the primary technologies that reduces Carbon Emission through Circular Energy using a Dual-Fuel system which burns natural gas and / or liquid hydrocarbon. SCR is used to scrub the remaining exhaust flu gas for <GHG.

Specifically designed for Regional Refining of crude oil and Regional Power Generation in third world countries the Turbo Refinery is identified as: CHP+ADU=<GHG.

It’s designed and assembles in a LEGO type of method, in a standardized small footprint configuration, using ISO standard frames, stackable, module system designed for HD, harsh onshore / offshore applications, and to speed up deployment and improves consistency of on-spec products, while providing multiple product streams from a ~2,500 BPD crude feed stock.


CHP stands for: Combined Heat and Power

ADU stands for: Atmospheric Distillation Unit

< stands for less than

GHG stands for Green House Gases

Electrical power consumption of the ISBL portion of the unit is approximately 1/3 of the generator capacity leaving the bulk of the generated power for regional use or sale.


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