Mass transfer mechanisms in solvent bitumen recovery processes

If the development of oil sands is to continue, improved environmentally friendly processes with minimal footprint have to be implemented. Thus steam will either have to be faced out or it will have to be augmented by chemicals such as solvents. The major drawback of solvent is the perceived low mass transfer rates. However, if the bitumen solvent interactions are enhanced through convection, this gap may be eliminated. This proposal evaluates mass transfer enhancements in bitumen solvent systems, both liquid and vapour, both experimentally and through computer simulation.
We will evaluate pore level mixing enhancements that will accelerate mass transfer, viscosity reduction and flow rate increase. The work will include basic property measurements, flooding in visualization cells and sand packs and pore level modelling using Computational Physics packages. Concentration profiles will be measured using x-ray tomography.

Sajjad Esmaeili
Faculty Supervisor: 
Brij Maini
Partner University: