The Reforming Process
During the reforming of naphtha, mainly straight chain alkanes,
with 6 - 10 carbon atoms, are re-formed into molecules with the
same number of carbon atoms but different structures.
The naphtha is first purified to remove sulphur, which would
poison the catalyst, and then mixed with recycled hydrogen and
heated to about 500°C, a process known as hydroforming.
This mixture passes into a series of reactors containing a catalyst,
normally platinum/alumina. Older processes operate at 20 atmospheres
pressure, but modern plants run at a lower pressure of 5 atmospheres
and use continuous catalyst regeneration. This means the catalyst
is withdrawn on a continuous basis and conveyed through a regeneration
system before being returned to the reactor.