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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Furfural Refining

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Furfural Refining

The Furfural Refining process is a solvent extraction process used to remove undesirable components of low lubricating oil quality naturally present in crude oil distillate and residual stocks. The unit produces paraffinic or naphthenic raffinates suitable for further processing into lube base stocks.

This process has been used for over 60 years in more than 100 refineries worldwide to produce high-quality lubricating oils characterized by high viscosity index, good thermal and oxidation stability, light color, and excellent additive response. The process selectively removes aromatics and compounds containing heteroatoms (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and metals). The by-product extracts, being high in aromatic content, can be used for carbon black feedstocks, rubber extender oils, and other non-lube applications where this feature is desirable.

Unlike phenol, furfural is a non-toxic chemical. Wastewater rejected from the “B” fractionator is the only waste effluent from the unit. The water stream normally contains only a trace quantity of furfural, which is biodegradable.


  • Grassroots Furfural Refining Units
  • Modification of Existing Furfural Refining Units to Improve Energy Efficiency and/or to Increase Unit Capacity
  • Conversion of Phenol Extraction Units to Furfural Refining