The Role of Vacuum in Oil & Petroleum Refining

The Role of Vacuum in Oil & Petroleum Refining

April 26, 2021

|

by Katy Manning

Vacuum and the distillation process

A lot of importance is given to vacuum distillation in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and many other sectors like food production and beverages. Another place where this process is used is the refining of crude oil which requires two distillations, as crude oil contains both heavy and light hydrocarbons, each of them having a different boiling point. One distillation is carried out at atmospheric pressure, and a second distillation under vacuum at lower temperatures, which is able to separate heavy hydrocarbons, and this minimizes thermal cracking and also prevents unwanted by-products from being created.

Oil Recycling

One way to develop and promote alternatives to the illegal disposal of used oil, is by recycling it, so that it establishes a network all over the state for collection opportunities, and to undertake efforts to reach out and inform as well as motivate the public on the need to recycle used oil. Any oil that is synthetic or petroleum-based turns into used oil once it has been put to use. When oil is normally used, water, chemicals, metal scrapings, and other impurities like dirt get mixed with the oil, resulting in the oil no longer performing as it should. A time comes when this used oil has to be replaced by virgin oil, or oil that has been re-refined so that the job is done as it should be. Used motor oil is persistent, insoluble, and there is a possibility that it will contain heavy materials and toxic chemicals.

  • It degrades slowly
  • It can stick to anything, whether it be bird feathers or sand from the beach
  • It contaminates waterways and is seen as a major source of pollution of the sources of drinking water


Over four million people, on average, reuse motor oil for lubricating other equipment, or carry it to a recycling facility.

Used motor oil can be recycled and re-refined as new oil. or processed to make fuel oil, or used in the petroleum industry as raw material
A gallon of used oil produces the same amount of oil, 2.5 quarts, as would be produced by 42 gallons of the crude variety.

Most Americans change the oil in their vehicles themselves, and if all of the oil they change can be recycled, it would give you oil that can be used in 50 million cars.   

The vacuum process used both in refining and recycling of all petroleum and oil products can help in the creation of products that are clean and environmentally friendly.

Back to Blog