Upgrading Heavier Crude Oil to Lighter Fractions at Ambient conditions using Innovative Technology

Project: Research

Project Details


The goal of this project is to develop a convenient and efficient method to upgrade heavy fractions of crude oil such as Arabian Heavy crude and Asphaltene. The heavy crude that break down into smaller fragments molecule for the development of alternative fuels and to facilitate oil recovery. The upgrading of asphaltenes is achieved by combining droplet chemistry with nano-catalysts such as Ni/Mo, NiCo, Pd/CoMoO4, Pt, Pd, Ti, B with mesoporous alumina, and Zeolite support. In our preliminary study, the Asphaltenes are broken down by oil droplets striking a charged surface containing the nano-catalytic surface. We have a proof-of-concept demonstrating the effectiveness of this technique for upgrading crude oil samples under ambient conditions, that is, room temperature and atmospheric pressure, on the microsecond timescale. Moreover, the fragmentation yield is further increased by cycling the process, that is, by retreating the oil sample that has contacted the solid support. We have filed a US provisional patent with Stanford University on the pilot study. These results encourage us to believe that this new technique for oil upgrading can be scaled and perfected. The success of this project will provide a new strategy for the development of energy sources to meet the growing demand for fuels. This proposal involves interdisciplinary efforts from science and engineering. We collaborate with Professor Richard Zare from the Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, USA. Currently, this project is a non-funded project, which urgently needs financial support to allow us to construct and demonstrate a prototype system.
Effective start/end date15/04/1915/04/22


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