Crude Oil Furnace

The crude oil furnace is usually set between a desalting tank and the first distillation tower. The purpose of this furnace is to heat desalted crude oil to about 400-600C to prepare it for delivery to the distillation process. Smaller versions of this furnace or reboilers can also be seen downstream in the refinery process to reheat treated oil for other processing such as hydro-cracking, alkylation, further distillation etc. The crude oil furnace stands about 18 inches tall and has an approximate 5 x 5 inch footprint. There are two smaller pipes beneath the structure for delivery of air and gas for heating. Crude oil enters the furnace from the top convection unit and flows down and exits from the lower portion of the radiant heater box. There is a maintenance platform on the main radiant furnace box with a secondary platform leading to the stack. This secondary platform will also act as a crosswalk to connect to another furnace if desired.

There are two versions of the crude oil furnace as shown below. The standard version is a box type structure and there is also a round type structure which is called a kettle furnace.

View more Oil Refinery Structures on page 'Refinery Structures 2 and 3'

Refinery Structures 2

Refinery Structures 3

The Oil Refinery structures are our most popular product line to date. The photos above show demonstration complexes,
​customer orders and layouts.

The typical oil/petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant with many different structures designed to receive crude oil , processes and refine it into petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas. Oil refineries are typically very large complexes with extensive piping running throughout, connecting the various chemical processing units. To model a complete refinery would take up a lot of space on a layout. So Model Structures has designed various stand alone structures that can be purchased separately. This way you can choose and fit the structures you like for your layout. While all standard product is designed for underground piping Model Structures will be happy to design for an additional cost the necessary above ground piping using our pipe stands to connect all purchased product. If you prefer we will also design and build complete refinery complexes based on your instructions.

The Model Structures Oil Refinery consists of the following custom built structures:

Oil Refinery Structures 1

Two-Stage Desalting Tank Unit

The dehydration process of a desalter will reduce a portion of the free brine as it exits the vessel. A certain quantity of brine will continue to exit as an emulsion. Depending on the product specifications, one, two, or three stages of desalting may be required to satisfy the process design requirements. Recycling reduces dilution/wash water consumption and disposal costs of the effluents. Below is a new design for a two-stage desalting tank unit.

From mine and other customer layouts

Alkylation Unit

An alternate method to squeeze even more out of crude oil after initial distillation is the use of Alkylation (Alky) Units to combine olefins (propylene and butylene) from the Fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) with isobutane and a sulfuric acid catalyst. It’s mixed vigorously before the sulfuric acid is again removed. What’s left is pumped to distillation towers, where it’s separated into liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), mixed butanes and alkylate. Alkylate is a high-octane blending component used in lead-free premium gasoline.

The top tank has inlet and outlet piping plus a smaller diameter pipe that connects to the lower tank. The lower tank also has an inlet pipe. The inlet pipes are usually connected to an upstream cracking unit and a storage tank. The outlet piping would go to another distillation tower or to a mixing unit.

Aproximate footprint for the Alkylation unit including clearance for the piping is 9 inches x 7 inches x 11 inches (H).

Please see the OnLine Store for pricing.

To aid in the selection of structures for your refinery feel free to open the link to the PDF file “How Oil Refineries are Set Up” (Updated 02/16/2017) which gives basic in formation on how refineries operate and what structures are typically present.

How Oil Refineries Are Set Up

Also available is a process flow map to give you an idea where each structure is placed.

Refinery Process Flow Map

  • Elevated Storage Tanks
  • Pipe Support Columns
  • Reboiler 
  • Hydrocracking Unit
  • Catalytic Cracking Unit
  • Floating Top Storage Tank
  • Three Unit Horizontal Storage Tank Farm with Platform
  • Tanker Car Fuel Loading Platform
  • Condenser/Reflux Drum Rack
  • Filter Bank
  • Various sized Storage Tanks with or w/o a Pump House
  • Desalting Tank
  • Crude Oil Furnace
  • Three different Distillation Towers
  • Condensers (to be designed)
  • Alkylation Unit
  • Piping Complex
  • Flare Tower
  • High Pressure Spherical Tanks
  • Vertical Storage Tanks

T. Moore Layout

The plastic trackside series is divided into 11 categories. Please select any one of the links below to view our product.

 - Tank Stands
 - Water / Fuel / Sand Towers
 - Fuel Transfer Depots
 - Locomotive Sheds
 - RR / Industrial and City Signs
 - City Structures
 - Cement / Asphalt and Maintenance Platforms
 - Grain Elevators
 - Service and Maintenance Sheds
 - Oil Refinery Structures (see below)​
 - Industrial Yards

Model Structures for Model Railroads

3-Unit Storage Tank Facility

The 3-Unit Storage Tank Facility is a smaller version of the 4-Unit Tank Storage Facility with Pump House. It consists of 2 tanks with a diameter of 4 inches and a height of 7 1/2 inches and one narrower tank with a diameter of 2 inches and a height of 9 inches. There are 2 platforms connected by a stairway. Access to the first is by a caged ladder. Separate piping connects all tanks to a single output. The total footprint of the tank farm including the pump house is approximately 13 x 11 inches. Another version is available with 2 tanks 4 inch and 1 tank with 3 inch diameters. Customized versions with platforms are also available - contact us for a design and quote.

Standard color scheme is white tanks and aluminum platforms, ladders and building. Other color schemes are available. Custom modifications are also available - just contact us! 

4-Unit Tank Storage Facility with Pump House

The catwalks for the Tank Farm have been redesigned. Shown below are some of the several different custom elevations offered. These tanks can be used to store either crude oil ready for refining or finished product at the end of processing.

This tank farm consists of 4 tanks with a diameter of 5 inches and a height of approx. 7 1/2 inches. There are platforms on top of the tanks with caged ladders for each. Separate piping connects each tank to the pump house. At the pump house the input pipes are controlled by separate gate valves. There is a large output valve on the opposite side of the shed with an unglued elbow leading the pipe into the ground. This makes it easy to remove the piping to ground and install custom piping to a different location. The total footprint of the tank farm including the pump house is about 13 x 18 inches. The tank farm is shipped in separate in pieces - the four tanks, platforms with caged ladders and the pump house.

If you are interested in purchasing simply navigate to the OnLine Store - Trackside Structures - Plastic Structures. Standard color scheme is white tanks and aluminum platforms, ladders and building. Other color schemes are available. Custom modifications are also available - just contact us!

Customer Layouts

Wood Bridges and Decking for Model Trains
​Plastic and Wood O Scale Trackside Structures
Custom Model Building Services 
​Kits and Details

Flare Tower with Fan Housing

The Flare tower is designed with an enclosed fan housing structure attached to it. There is a ladder allowing access to the top of the boiler then partially up the smoke stack. The flare stack is a three-stage tower starting at 1 inch diameter and ending at 5/8 " diameter. Overall foot print is 2 x 6 x 16(H) inches.

Distillation Towers

The various components of crude oil have different sizes, weights and boiling temperatures; so, the first step is to separate these components. Because they have different boiling temperatures, they can be separated easily by a process called fractional distillation. An Atmospheric distillation tower distills crude oil into fractions. The collected liquid fractions may either pass to condensers, which cool them further, and then go to storage tanks or go to other areas for further chemical processing. There are usually heavy residue left over after atmospheric distillation. These residues are sent to a Vacuum distillation tower which further distills the 'residual bottoms' for more product. Smaller Distillation towers are also located after hydrocracking or treatment units to further refine product before being sent on to storage. Model Structures now offers four distillation tower models. Please note that pipe diameters have changed. All towers now use the larger 1/4 OD piping in all locations. The line up includes the Large Distillation Tower (17 inches tall with a 2 ½ diameter), the Vacuum Distillation tower (17 inches tall with a 2” diameter), Medium Atmospheric tower (14 inches tall with a 1½ inch diameter), and a Small Atmospheric tower (12 inches tall with a 1¼ inch diameter). due to the base the overall footprint is about 5 x 5 inches for all towers.

Custom pipe routing is available.

Desalting Tank

The refinery’s first job is to remove water and salt from the crude oil. These contaminants are of no use to the refinery. Raw crude oil is pumped from storage tanks to the desalting tank where the process takes place. Salt is dissolved in the water in the crude oil, not in the crude oil itself and since water does not mix with crude oil the process is fairly simple to perform. Model Structures Desalting tank is 9 inches long and 2 ½ inches in diameter. There is a single inlet pipe for crude oil going to the top of the tank and an outlet at the bottom for desalted crude to use as feedstock for the crude oil furnace. A smaller blue pipe exiting the bottom of the tank carries waste water (brine) to be disposed of. The green piping is for waste gas that is sent for further processing. The small yellow pipe is for sand. A transformer sits on top of the tank.

High Pressure Spherical Tanks

There is a new design for the Spherical Storage Tanks. The walkway has been extended to cross over both tanks. The bottom platform has been raised and extended to go from the front to the back of the tanks and a new loading platform with pumps have been added. A wind girder has been added to the tanks. The tanks can still be purchased as one tank, both tanks and both tanks with the loading platform. These tanks are primarily used to house petroleum / chemical products stored under pressure such as Benzene, Ammonia, Liquid Propane, Liquid Oxygen or Nitrogen. Shown above is the O Scale double tank option. A single tank option is also available. Each O Scale tank measures 5 inches in diameter. The overall footprint for the double tank version is 19 inches wide x 9 inches deep (including stairs) with a 7 inch height. The single unit tank structure is about 10 inches wide. The tanks are available in different colors. Standard color for the tank complex is light gray with dark gray stairways. Other color options are dark gray, white or black with appropriate color stairways.