The Baby Boom Years
Passenger car numbers and usage increased with the expanding post-war economy and the development of the Interstate Highway System. Higher performance engines required higher performance gasoline and motor oil. WRR kept pace. A new process called platforming was developed, utilizing a catalyst containing small (but expensice) amounts of platinum to rearrange gasoline molecules into higher octane blending components. WRR constructed two Platformer Units (later renamed Catalytic Reformers), and Shell gasoline was marketed as having “Platformate.” The Research Laboratory discovered that adding the chemical TCP to gasoline helped prevent spark plug fouling, which was caused by the lead octane additive formerly used in gasoline. A large new distillation unit (DU-1, still in service), a third Alkylation unit, and a Lube Fractionation and Extraction unit was built. Meanwhile, WRR constructed a Waste Water Treatment Plant as pollution control activities increased. Refinery capacity was 170,000 barrels per day in 1953.
Sinclair Oil Corporation purchased the Hartford refinery from Wood River Oil & Refining, which was later renamed Koch Industries.