Institute for Oil Sands Innovation (IOSI)

Phase Behaviour and Aggregation of Asphaltenes in Supercritical Water

The use of water as a solvent at high temperature and pressure offers new insights into the phase behavior and aggregation of asphaltenes, and may open new directions for upgrading technology. Water could offer a unique medium for controlling asphaltene aggregation and reactions. This project will first investigate the phase behavior of bitumen and water in the vicinity of the critical point of water, in order to define single phase regions which could potentially enhance upgrading reactions. Results from these experiments will guide an investigation of the ability of water to alter the agglomeration of asphaltenes. This program will determine promising regimes of temperature, pressure and composition for the application of SCW to oil sands processing.

Principal Investigator: John Shaw
Research Team: Murray Gray, Farshad Amani, Mildred Becerra

Project Number: COSI 2009-10
Projected Completion Date: March 31, 2012

John Shaw
University of Alberta