Experimental and numerical analysis of using thermochemical injection for preheating to improve in-situ combustion of bitumen

Olalekan S. Alade, Mohamed Hamdy, Mohamed Mahmoud*, D. A. Al Shehri, Esmail Mokheimer, Ayman Al-Nakhli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


High production cost, inefficient energy utilization, high water requirement, and environmental pollution are the major challenges to heavy oil production through the conventional steam injection method. Thermochemical fluid injection is a novel and environmentally benign technology for in-situ generation of heat and nitrogen from the exothermic reaction of certain chemicals. Thermochemical stimulation offers several advantages including minimal heat loss and reduced emission of CO2 compared with steam injection. This study aims at harnessing the potential of injecting thermochemical fluids (TCF) to preheat the reservoir for improved in-situ combustion of bitumen (TCF-ISC). Bitumen sample was preheated using TCF (ratio: 10 ml TCF: 5 g bitumen) or steam. Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) was conducted to compare the combustion characteristics of original bitumen sample (B0), those pre-treated using steam (B1) and TCF (B2). In addition, numerical simulation studies were performed to evaluate the performance of the proposed process. The thermochemical reaction produced temperature and pressure of 67 °C and 1600 psi, respectively, and ΔH = 370 KJmol−1. The SEM-EDX analysis show that TCF treatment created open cavities on the matrix of the bitumen sample (B2) which strongly supports potential to increase thermal communication during the ISC process. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) show that the TCF treatment of bitumen sample improve combustion performance with higher exothermicity and reactivity. These results revealed higher combustion reactivity and higher potential for combustion front propagation with TCF. Moreover, numerical simulation confirms higher cumulative oil production (m3), oil recovery factor (%), and lower heat loss (GJ/m3) using TCF preheating before the ISC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117894
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors of this article highly appreciate and acknowledge the support provided by the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and Saudi Aramco through the Funded Project No. CIPR 2330. In addition, we are grateful to Mr. Iddris Abdulsamed and Mr. Jafar Al Hamad, laboratory technicians at the college of Petroleum and Geoscience, for their assistance during the experimental works.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bitumen
  • Hybrid system
  • In-situ combustion
  • Thermal analysis
  • Thermal stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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