The clay mineral kaolinite constitutes by far the largest fraction of the clay materials in the Alberta oil sands. Extraction by water or solvents leaves large polar molecules, asphaltenes, attached to the surfaces of the finest clay particles. This incomplete separation of the organics from the mineral surfaces contributes to losses of solvents in non-aqueous processing, and to stable suspensions in water-based tailings. The strong physico-chemical interactions between the polar aromatic molecules and the external surfaces of the submicrometric clay particles constitute a challenge to any process. This proposal aims at proposing solutions to separate effectively bitumen from clay particles by a competitive adsorption strategy. The strategy is based on molecular surface of kaolinite to form stabilized nanohybrid organo-mineral materials.
Principal Investigator: Christian Detellier
Co-Principal Investigators: Andriy Kovalenko, Stanislav Stoyanov, Sergey Gusarov
Project Number: COSI 2009-06
Close Date: 28 February 2013