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The changing skyline

The Altona skyline is about to change with the upcoming removal of the refinery’s Thermofor Catalytic Cracker (TCC).

When it was built in the mid’50s the TCC was the tallest structure in Melbourne.

The tower’s catalytic cracking refining technology was developed by ExxonMobil affiliates during World War II. It changed the refining industry and allowed the production of 100 octane aviation fuel in large quantities and was a key factor in supporting the Allied success.

Altona’s TCC was the first of its kind in Australia. It was decommissioned in 1997 when it was replaced with newer, more efficient technology, the Fluidised Catalytic Cracker.

“Today the TCC is redundant and as we renew the refinery, we need to reclaim the area it takes up so we can put it to better use,” explained the Refinery Maintenance, Reliability and Engineering Manager Andrew Williamson.

The project team began work last July and have safely removed most of the on-the-ground facilities associated with the TCC.

“We expect to be dismantling the tower itself later this year,” said Andrew.

Photo — The TCC towers above the landscape in this C Dudley Wood painting of the Altona Refinery in the ‘50s.
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