(190e) Overheated Water Separation (OHWS) of Bitumen from Utah Oil Sands

Cha, Z., University of Utah
Hong, P., University of Utah

Hot water extraction process (HWEP) of bitumen from oil sands has been successfully applied to Canadian Alberta oil sands. The efficiency of separation is greatly affected by the addition of caustic reagents and other additives. Also the fine content of oil sands affects recovery efficiency. Recently much attention has been paid to the possibility of reducing commercial process costs by reducing the slurry temperature, but the longer conditioning time and requirement of more additives have complicated this process. Different from Canadian oil sands, American oil sands, especially Utah oil sands, are ?oil-wet sands' and the hot water separation process must be modified. More intensive shearing force and caustic wetting agent such as sodium hydroxide are required. In order to enhance the recovery of bitumen from oil sands, especially for Utah oil sands, a new process called Overheated Water Separation (OHWS) process is studied. This process can greatly accelerate displacement and disengagement rate of bitumen from oil sands by taking advantage of ablation, mixing, mass and heat transfer, and chemical reactions during phase change. Intensive agitation, caustic reagent and other additives are not required. The subsequent environmental problems caused by additives and hydrocarbons in aqueous phase can be avoided.