How to Make Paraffin Oil

by Adam Benjamin ; Updated September 26, 2017

Consumers typically use paraffin oil, also called kerosene, as a fuel additive or to heat homes. In a lamp, paraffin oil burns to make light. Manufacturers distill paraffin from the asphalt left in crude oil processing. In modern times, commercial producers highly refine the oil to remove the contaminants that cause smoke and odor. An oil extractor can process crude oil at a processing plant to separate the paraffin oil from the crude oil.

Items you will need

  • Crude oil
  • Distillation column
  • Separation tower
  • Extraction tower
  • Furnaces
Step 1

Pump crude oil into the bottom of a distillation column. Separate the crude oil into petroleum and its distilled components. Use a tall and thin column, up to 116 feet. Install a condenser at the top of the column.

Step 2

Heat the oil at the bottom of the column. When the oil heats, vapors contain the light components such as paraffin. Heat the oil until paraffin circulates at the top. Boil the the oil at 302 degrees F to 527 degrees F to make the paraffin oil in the mixture evaporate. Use the temperature that does not boil the bulk of the heavier hydrocarbon parts in the crude oil that have higher boiling points. Use a temperature that boils all the paraffin oil and rely on the column height to give any evaporated heavier parts the time to turn back into liquid and fall to the bottom.

Step 3

Collect the light hydrocarbon components that rise to the top of the column. Between 302 degrees F and 482 degrees F, paraffin collects at the top. Use a condenser to cool the oil vapors until the vapors turn back into liquid oil. Collect the paraffin oil in the condenser.

Step 4

Recycle the paraffin at the top to purify. Refine the circulating paraffin to remove contaminants. Cycle the oil through the top at the condenser multiple times to purify the oil. During recycling, allow the heavier evaporated paraffin oil to return to the liquid at the bottom. Boil the oil again. When the oil is light enough, collect the evaporate in the condenser.

Step 5

Convert the crude oil part to kerosene. Move the crude oil from the distillation tower tower to a tower for processing with chemical reactors. Use the chemical reactors to change the carbon structure of the rude oil into the carbon structure for paraffin oil.

Step 6

Extract contaminants from the paraffin. The paraffin still contains contaminants that produce smoke or aroma when burned. Use a chemical solvent, such as diethylene glycol and tetraethylene glycol, to separate the contaminants from the paraffin.

First, pump the paraffin oil into the bottom of an extraction tower. Add solvents. Keep the solvents mixed with the oil until the contaminants dissolve. Use time to allow the solvents to attract the contaminants into the solvent and dissolve them. After extraction, the extractor has a more purified paraffin.


  • Extract all the odor-producing and smoke-generating contaminants. Oil that smokes and smells is too unpleasant to sell to customers who burn it for light.

About the Author

Adam Benjamin Pollack is a San Diego native dedicated to the great sentences on civil society. He authored the Subchapter S Report to tell legal news for the American Bankers Association. He holds a Juris Doctor from Indiana University and a Master of Public Policy from University of California, Berkeley.