Catalytic reforming is a chemical process, its purpose is to convert low octane naphtha cuts into high-octane gasoline and to produce aromatic hydrocarbons required as raw materials for the chemical industry .
The dehydrogenation also produces significant amounts of byproduct hydrogen gas, which is fed into other refinery processes such as hydro cracking. A side reaction is hydrogenolysis, which produces light hydrocarbons of lower value, such as methane, ethane, propane and butanes.
If the process is conducted so as to produce aromatic hydrocarbons, the products will contain higher percentage of benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene which have diverse uses, most importantly as raw materials for conversion into plastics. However, the benzene content of reformate makes it carcinogenic, which has led to governmental regulations requiring further processing to reduce its benzene content.
The liquid feed is pumped back into the stripper top. The resulting liquid gas mixture is preheated by flowing through a heat exchanger. The preheated feed mixture is then totally vaporized and heated to the reaction temperature (495–520°C) before the vaporized reactants enter the first reactor.
Benzene is often removed with a specific operation to reduce the content of benzene in the reformate as the finished gasoline has often an upper limit of benzene content. The benzene extracted can be marketed as feedstock for the chemical industry .