Bitumen heavy oil upgrading by cavitation processing: effect on asphaltene separation, rheology, and metal content

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s13203-016-0146-1
AuthorSearch for: ; Search for:
TypeArticle
Journal titleApplied Petrochemical Research
ISSN2190-5525
2190-5533
SubjectUltrasonic treatment; Bitumen; Asphaltene; Metal content; Rheology
AbstractCavitation processing has been proposed as a greener alternative to solvent dilution or heat treatment of bitumen and other heavy oils to reduce viscosity and hence, improve transportability. The effect of acoustic cavitation under different conditions of sonication frequencies (low- to high- frequency range) and power inputs on asphaltene content, rheological changes, and metal content of bitumen was investigated in this study. Ultrasonic treatment resulted in a decrease in asphaltene content in bitumen that lead to lower viscosity and shear stress over a wide range of shear rates. Over the range of sonication frequencies investigated (20 kHz–1.1 MHz), the sonication frequency of 574 kHz with 50 % power input resulted in low asphaltene content and lower viscosity suitable for improved transportability. Further, comparison of different conditions of sonication frequencies and power inputs were carried out to investigate the effect of ultrasound on properties of asphaltene (elemental analysis and metal content). It was observed that the sonication treatment of bitumen under different conditions of frequencies and acoustic power decreased the H/C ratio. These results showed higher content of aromatic hydrogen and lower content of aliphatic hydrogen in bitumen treated under different conditions of sonication frequencies and intensity. Characterization of asphaltene performed using ICP-MS and TXRF, revealed lower metal content (Ni, Fe, and V) in the asphaltene phase of processed (sonicated) bitumen. The lowered metal content can be attributed to the reduced asphaltene formation as a result of sonication treatment of bitumen.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationEnergy, Mining and Environment; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
Identifier146
NPARC number21277280
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Record identifierb0ff6292-3bdf-4ecf-a7a5-07f166c04763
Record created2016-02-02
Record modified2016-05-09
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