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Level and density in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) processes

Level and density in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) processes

11 May 2020

BERTHOLD Technologies: Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries, where the feedstock is heated with a catalyst. In the FCC, the catalyst circulates between reactor and regenerator to ensure efficient conversion. The ability of the radiometric devices to measure solid catalyst under the high tempera­tures needed in a FCC, makes it the ideal measurement solution to maintain safe and reliable operation. Radiometric level measurements from Berthold are applied on several sections, e.g. on the cyclone separator, on the regenerator, electrostatic precipitation hoppers and on the regenerated standpipe.

Level measurement of catalyst fines in cyclone separators

Catalyst fines have to be removed from the regenerator flue gas to fulfill regulatory requirements and to protect downstream equipment. Thus cyclonic separators are used to filter out the remaining catalyst fines. The solid particles settle down at the bottom of the separator, where their level is controlled by radiometric level systems from Berthold. The non-contacting technology is ideally suited for this kind of application since dust and temperature have no impact on the measurement performance.

Customer Benefit

  • Improved catalyst removal
  • Reliable process control
  • Ideal utilitzation of vessel capacity


  • Continuous level measurement, typically 2...4 m measuring range
  • Installed at the bottom conical part
  • Typical arrangement uses Cs-137 point sources and scintillation rod detectors
  • Non-contacting, non-intrusive technology
  • No re-calibrations, no maintenance required

Article "Made to measure"

Catalytic cracking, especially fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), is one of the most important conversion processes used in the refineries. To ensure a control of the entire cracking process, level measurements are essential. But the extreme process conditions of a fluid catalytic cracking unit pose some challenges for the measurement technology. The article “Made to measure” (published in the journal Hydrocarbon Engineering April 2020) explains why the use of radiometric measurement systems can help to optimize level control in FCCUs and how Berthold systems can help you to control your process more reliably to ensure safe operation while increasing efficiency.

  • BERTHOLD Technologies GmbH & Co. KG
    Calmbacherstr. 22
    75323 Bad Wildbad
    Germany / Europe
    Tel.: +49 (7081) 177 0
    Fax: +49 (7081) 177 167
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