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Oil recovery from hydrocarbonaceous solids

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Title: Oil recovery from hydrocarbonaceous solids.
Abstract: A thermal method and apparatus are provided for recovering hydrocarbons from hydrocarbon-containing solids such as oil shale, tar sands and other hydrocarbonaceous solids. The method includes combusting a pre-determined fraction of the hydrocarbon bearing aggregate solid in a closed reactor, thereby providing exothermic heat and gaseous combustion products which raise the temperature and pressure of the aggregate in the reactor causing the remaining solid hydrocarbon to undergo pyrolysis, phase changes and composition changes simultaneously upgrading the hydrocarbon product. The products of the operation are then produced and condensed. ...

- Norman, OK, US
Inventor: Henry B. Crichlow
USPTO Applicaton #: #20070209972 - Class: 208408000 (USPTO) - 09/13/07 - Class 208 

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Related Patent Categories: Mineral Oils: Processes And Products, By Treatment Of Solid Mineral, E.g., Coal Liquefaction, Etc., Specified Agitation Or Circulation In Gas Contact Zone, Gas Includes Hydrogen
The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20070209972, Oil recovery from hydrocarbonaceous solids.

Exothermic   Pyrolysis   


[0001] This application claims priority from disclosure document applications numbers 589080, 589081, 589082, 589083, filed Nov. 2, 2005 and 589594 filed Nov. 9, 2005 and provisional patent 60/781,283 by Dr. Henry Crichlow.


Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to the recovery of oil from hydrocarbonaceous solids. More particularly, the invention relates to a method and apparatus whereby hydrocarbons are extracted from tar sands, oil shales and similar materials by using a thermal process which simultaneously combines combustion and pyrolysis of the hydrocarbonaceous material.


[0003] The method of the present invention relates to a new and improved method and apparatus for the thermal extraction of oil other valuable hydrocarbons from crushed hydrocarbonaceous solids, such as tar sands and oil shale. The terms tar sands and oil sands have the same meaning in this application and can be interchanged.

[0004] Specifically, the present invention provides for extracting oils and other hydrocarbons from crushed hydrocarbonaceous solids which comprises crushing the solids to provide a substantially uniform feed composition. The crushed solid aggregates are then thermally treated in a generally vertical closed reactor in an exothermic combustion process in which a fraction of the hydrocarbon is combusted to generate heat in-situ, this heat energy produces an elevated temperature and pressure environment inside the reactor in which the solid hydrocarbons subsequently undergo phase changes and pyrolysis and also are chemically upgraded to provide a higher quality hydrocarbon product.

[0005] Specifically, the present invention provides a method and apparatus for the thermal extraction of hydrocarbons from solid hydrocarbon-bearing aggregates using a substantially vertical pressurized reactor. The method provides for a thermal modification of the solid or semi-solid hydrocarbon by providing a high temperature and high pressure environment resulting from the exothermic combusting of a pre-determined fraction of the native hydrocarbon with an oxidizer in a closed reactor apparatus.

[0006] The primary features of the apparatus include a reactor and an associated system which provides an oxidizer source, an aggregate feed system, a production system for the hydrocarbon products and a heat exchanger for utilizing residual heat in the spent solids. This reactor is designed to operate under elevated temperatures and pressures which are developed during the thermal processing of the hydrocarbon feed. In addition to the reactor components, several accessory and peripheral elements are required to separate the solid, liquid and vapor products of the invention. The feed system provides for inputting the crushed aggregate into the reactor. The oxidizer system provides a source of oxygen which is needed and which is introduced into the reactor to maintain combustion of only a fractional part of the hydrocarbon in the aggregate.

[0007] In a more detailed feature of the present invention, the hot gases produced under pressure in the thermal process permeate the solid material, simultaneously raising the temperature thereby lowering the viscosity of the hydrocarbon, in addition, also pyrolyzing part of the hydrocarbon and vaporizing part of the hydrocarbon material.

[0008] In yet a more detailed aspect of the invention the exothermic combustion process oxidizes only a predetermined fraction of the in-place hydrocarbon, a fraction sufficient to raise the temperature of the remaining material to a level needed to complete the thermal processes. The quantity of oxidizer is pre-calculated stoichiometrically and since only a fraction of hydrocarbon is oxidized, the remaining hydrocarbon can be thermally modified and produced in this new invention.

[0009] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which together illustrate, by way of example, features of the invention.

[0010] An objective of this invention is to thermally extract hydrocarbons from solid hydrocarbonaceous materials like oil sands, oil shales and other bitumen bearing material using a closed pressurized reactor.

[0011] A specific objective of this invention is to implement a controlled combustion of a fraction of the native hydrocarbon in the reactor to raise the temperature and pressure of the remaining aggregate material in the reactor.

[0012] A further objective is to pyrolize a part of the remaining bitumen or hydrocarbon in the aggregate material.

[0013] Another specific objective is to lower the viscosity of the remaining hydrocarbon in place in the aggregate by virtue of the elevated temperatures and pressures developed in the reactor during the combustion reaction.

[0014] Another specific objective is to vaporize part of the remaining unburnt hydrocarbon in place in the aggregate by virtue of the elevated temperatures and pressures developed in the reactor.

[0015] Another specific objective is to physically displace and produce significant amounts of the remaining lowered viscosity hydrocarbon in place in the aggregate by circulating a gas through the reactor system

[0016] A further objective is to utilize a plurality of catalysts to accelerate the thermal reactions taking place in the reactor.

[0017] A further objective is to utilize hydrogen to modify the thermal reactions taking place in the reactor.

[0018] A further objective is to produce the modified hydrocarbons and vapors from the reactor.

[0019] A further objective is to scavenge and recuperate the heat remaining in the spent aggregate and transfer this heat to the incoming aggregate to the reactor.


[0020] Most of the prior work in this technological area falls into three basic categories. The first is a fluidized bed, the second is a rotary kiln system and the last is a solvent type extraction process.

[0021] Patent 20050173305 teaches a basic thermal rotary kiln method for treating crushed hydrocarbonaceous solids in a horizontal rotary kiln with a hot gas and injected hydrocarbon. The in situ hydrocarbon is vaporized and the crushed solids are left behind.

[0022] Patent 20050252833 describes a typical fluidized bed process that includes treating the oil sand (tar sand) or shale to produce a fluidizable feed, feeding the fluidizable feed to a fluidized bed reactor, which is then treated with hydrogen.

[0023] Patent 5320747 illustrates a combined aqueous solvent process and a pyrolysis process in which the tar sand is first washed with aqueous solvents and then treated in pyrolysis process to extract the hydrocarbon.

[0024] Patent 4054492 teaches a dry distillation process in which the ground-up tar sand material is treated by mixing in a distillation zone with a heat carrier comprising fine-grained dry distillation residue which is heated by hot combustion gases for several minutes at temperatures of 750 deg. to 850 deg. C.

[0025] Patent 4160720 describes an apparatus for tar sand processing that is essentially a vertical sequence of two fluidized beds in which the tar sand is sequentially pyrolized first between 350 deg. C. to 500 deg. C. and then combusted between 500 deg. C. and 700 deg. C. In this apparatus there is a thermal connection between the two fluidized beds using a set of pipes in which a hot liquid like molten sodium, potassium or cesium is used as the working fluid to transfer heat energy from the combustion zone to the pyrolysis zone.

[0026] Patent 4486294 describes a flotation system for recovering bitumen, patent 4470899 uses a digester with kerosene, while patent 4120776 uses caustic solvent digestion while patent 4298457 upgrades liquid bitumen products with hydrogen at high temperatures and pressures.

[0027] Patent 5681452 teaches a high temperature, high-pressure reactor which uses a stream of heated hydrogen gas at 910 deg. F. to calcine and process oil shale and tar sands by hydrogenation and hydrocracking in a closed 12 ft diameter by 100 ft high system.

[0028] Patent 4585543 utilizes extremely finely divided shale or tar sands particles in the range of 0.5 to 500 microns which are flashed at 1400 deg. F. in a reactor in less than two seconds. The solid fines and gaseous products are separated. The remaining hydrocarbon in the solids is burnt outside of the reactor to preheat the finely divided feed.

[0029] Chemical solvent and other combined solvent technologies for treating carbonaceous materials are taught in patents, 5320746, 5017281, 4804459, 4752358, 4596651, 4399314, 4161442, 4067796, 4027731, 2825677, 3041267, 3475318, 3459653, 2965557, 3117922, 3553099, 3392105 and 3948754. Retorting, calcining and related technologies for treating carbonaceous materials are discussed in patents, 5902554, 4707248, 4519894, 4415432, 4409090, 4337143, 4197183, 4133739, 4017379 and 3972690.

[0030] The University of Utah in Ref. 4 provides a very comprehensive discussion of tar sand recovery based on several laboratory studies involving fluidized beds.

[0031] Pressurized fluidized bed reactors shown in Refs. 5 and Ref. 6 have been proposed and utilized to gasify coal and potentially to process carbonaceous material. These devices partially gasify coal and produce a syn-gas. They operate at high temperatures, about 1800 deg. F. and with steam pressures approaching 6,000 psi.

[0032] References 6, and 7 provide detailed analyses of the recovery and upgrading of hydrocarbons from tar sands and oil shales. Reference 8 describes the Lurgi_Ruhrgas process which uses dry distillation techniques to recover up to 70% of the hydrocarbon by breaking down the mined material into liquids, vapor and entrained solids at high retort temperatures.

[0033] In addition to the above methods, a number of oil recovery methods related to oil shale and tar sands have been tested in the laboratory or in many operations in the field. These processes involve various techniques such as hot water processes, cold water processes, solvent processes, thermal processes and the like, all possess certain limitations which make them difficult to implement economically or mechanically in the field. Further, in many of these processes a high percentage as much as 20% of the original hydrocarbon remains in the spent residual solid product. This residual material is a significant loss of hydrocarbon revenue which is left behind in the spent material. The technology described here is a means to recover a relatively high percentage of the in-situ hydrocarbon and the residual material is limited only by the level of combustion that the operator is willing to tolerate in the combustion phase of this method. A method which would be effective in these oil shales and tar sands while leaving a small residue of hydrocarbons would be a significant advance in the art.


[0034] FIG. 1 shows a schematic of the generalized layout of the reactor cell and the accessory equipment used in the recovery of hydrocarbons.

[0035] FIG. 2 shows a generalized schematic of the pressure vessel reactor and the associated gas circulating system implemented.

[0036] FIG. 3 shows an idealized microscopic view of the tar sand material with sand grains surrounded by a connate water film and the bitumen layer.

[0037] FIG. 4 shows schematically shows the directional movement of hot gases successively into the matrix of a tar sand aggregate during the thermal process.

[0038] FIG. 5 shows a top cross-section view of a "star" shaped combustion tunnel in the center of the pressure vessel.

[0039] FIG. 6 shows a side view cross-section of the pressure vessel with contained aggregate and the vertically disposed combustion tunnel.

[0040] FIG. 7 shows a top cross-section view with a circular shaped combustion tunnel.

[0041] FIG. 8 shows an implementation of a fuel pack in the combustion tunnel.

[0042] FIG. 9 shows a cross-sectional view of the movement of the burn sequence as the combustion front moves radially through the hydrocarbonaceous aggregate from the center combustion tunnel outwards to the periphery of the reactor.

[0043] FIG. 10 shows an implementation of a fiber wrapped reactor.

[0044] FIG. 11 shows an implementation of a cement wrapped reactor.

[0045] FIG. 12 shows an implementation of a plurality of reactors which are cooled to lower the temperature of the reactor shell.


[0046] The invention described herein is method and apparatus which is used to rapidly extract hydrocarbon from tar sands, oil shales and other hydrocarbon containing solids. The process uses a thermal device called a pressure vessel as an extraction unit or reactor, which utilizes the exothermic heat generated by combusting a predetermined fraction of the hydrocarbon in place, in contact with a pre-determined amount of oxidizer, in a closed pressure vessel under elevated temperatures and pressures to raise the temperature of the native materials and thus initiate a change of phase and pyrolysis of the solid hydrocarbon converting the solid hydrocarbons to hydrocarbon liquids and gases. Pyrolysis is defined in this application as the decomposition or transformation of a compound caused by heat.

[0047] As combustion takes place, the pressure and temperature inside of the closed vessel increase very rapidly. The hot combustion gases penetrate the bigger aggregates of rock and heat the hydrocarbons in them in a chain reaction which in turn produces a thermal disintegration and pyrolysis of the aggregates, decreasing their particle size leaving them hot, dry and clean with a significant fraction of the hydrocarbons in a hot gaseous form and permeating the pore spaces of the aggregate matrix. The hydrocarbon burning is controlled by providing only sufficient oxidizer material to burn a calculated amount of hydrocarbon. After the oxidizer is consumed, no further burning occurs and the remaining native hydrocarbon remains in the pore spaces. The resulting increase in pressure is used to help drive the gases out of the vessel. This hydrocarbon product, which has gone through a change of state and pyrolysis, is then condensed and collected. The process can handle large amounts of material with relatively small extraction units.

[0048] Table 1 shows a list of the elements of the method. Referring to FIG. 1 showing a schematic of an embodiment of the apparatus. This apparatus comprises a pressurized vessel or reactor 2, which is implemented in a vertical position. In another embodiment, the reactor can be spherical in shape. The vertical position is not limiting or mandatory and other embodiments with less than a 90 degree angle with the horizontal can be implemented. In operation, the pressure vessel 2 is charged with aggregate 1. A feed input system 4 and a materials output system 3 provides for feeding aggregate and removal of spent aggregate from the pressure vessel 2. In one embodiment, the pressure vessel 2 is fitted with rapid release ends so that the input feed material can be fed into and the spent material removed rapidly from the pressure vessel 2 during operation. This rapid open-close embodiment allows an almost continuous operation to occur in field practice with a plurality of pressure vessels 2 clustered together. An oxidizer 12a is injected into the reactor 2 from the oxidizer system supply 12b. Accessory systems necessary to condense and separate the products of the reaction are attached to the reactor 2. These include solids separator 5, condenser 6, separator 7, another condenser 8, another separator 9, and a flare system 10 and necessary piping system 11. An additional supply system 12c for a combustible fluid 12d is part of the apparatus and connected to the reactor 2.

[0049] Referring to FIG. 1, the solid tar sand or oil shale material is crushed to form an aggregate 1. The aggregate 1 which is nominally about 1 inch sized particles, is introduced into the reactor vessel 2 by means of the input materials handling system 4. Naturally occurring in the aggregate 1 is the pure hydrocarbon material 27 as shown in FIG. 3 where the sand grains 26 are coated with connate water 28 and surrounded by the solid hydrocarbon 27 either bitumen in the case of sands or kerogen in the case of shales. In this invention, the term hydrocarbon refers to any of the typical solid hydrocarbon derivatives found in the oil shales, tar sands and heavy oil deposits worldwide.

[0050] By using a standard system energy balance well known in the industry, the quantity of oxidizer 12a that is needed to fully combust a pre-determined fraction of the hydrocarbon 27 and, to simultaneously raise the temperature of the aggregate material 1 to the required temperature for phase conversion, is computed stoichiometrically. A typical computation of an energy balance is shown in Table 2. In this table, the estimated quantity of bitumen to be fully combusted to raise the temperature of the remaining combined material is calculated. In practice, there are several process variables which influence the energy balance and those practiced in the field can easily modify the computations to achieve desired results. In one embodiment, the oxidizer 12a can be atmospheric oxygen, on another embodiment, it can be pure oxygen or an enriched air-oxygen mixture or still another embodiment the oxidizer can be any other chemicals capable of producing oxygen in suitable concentrations and quantities. In another embodiment, additional highly volatile fuel like a light hydrocarbon can be used in small amounts to aid in the initiation of combustion of the hydrocarbon. This fuel 12d is injected into the aggregate pack 1 either before or after the oxidizer 12a. In field operations, this energy balance is computed and the injected oxidizer quantity is controlled in real time by a control system which analyzes the input quality and quantity of the aggregate material and rates of feed to the reactor.

[0051] Referring to FIG. 2, which shows a schematic of some of the invention elements, an igniter device 13 and an igniter pack 14 are present in the lower portion of the pressure vessel 2. In one embodiment the igniter device 13 can be an electric arc type device like a spark plug like apparatus. In one embodiment, a plurality of igniter devices 13, operatively placed in the reactor, can be used to accomplish the initiation of the combustion process. The igniter pack 14 can be small quantity of highly combustible material, which improves the combustibility of the hydrocarbon 27 and allows the combustion front to propagate rapidly. After the pressure vessel 2 is filled with the charge of hydrocarbon aggregate 1, the required quantity of oxidizer 12a is injected into the pressure vessel 2 from the oxidizer supply 12b. The igniter 13 is activated and ignites the igniter pack 14. The oxidizer 12a can be injected either before the igniter 13 is activated or after the igniter 13 is activated. In the case where the oxidizer is injected before igniter activation the burn rate is initially faster than in the case when the oxidizer is injected after the ignition is initiated. The igniter pack 14 facilitates and initiates the combustion of the hydrocarbon 27 in the pressure vessel 2. The additional small quantity of fuel 12d which permeates the aggregate pack helps the combustion process. The combustion propagates vertically and horizontally in the pressure vessel 2 as a fraction of the hydrocarbon burns producing considerable exothermic heat and raising the temperature and pressure inside the pressure vessel 2. This propagation of the combustion front is shown in FIG. 9.

[0052] As an example, the heat released by the combustion of bitumen 27 is approximately 18,500 BTU/lb while the products of combustion are principally carbon dioxide and water.

[0053] Referring to FIG. 4 which shows an idealized cross-section of an aggregate particle, as the hydrocarbon 27 is combusted inside the reactor 2, the pressure and temperature rises inside the reactor 2 and the hot gases 36 penetrate the surface 41 of the aggregate particle 1 and at the microscopic level the difference in pressures between the hot high pressure gas 36 and the low pressure zones 39 and 40 inside the aggregate material allow the hot products of combustion to completely penetrate the solid aggregate 1. On contacting the hot gases 36 generated by the combustion process the water film 28 surrounding the sand grains 26 shown in FIG. 3 rapidly evaporate creating a dispersion effect on the solid hydrocarbon 27 which helps the aggregate particle 1 to disintegrate into a fine distribution of sand and hydrocarbon. The unburnt hydrocarbon 27 goes through a pyrolysis stage and change of phase and the vaporized and pyrolized material now occupies the interstitial pore spaces in the aggregate 1. The result of the combustion process is the formation of gaseous combustion products and heated hydrocarbon which has now undergone a substantial chemical and physical change.

[0054] A further embodiment of the method provides for the inclusion of a chemical catalyst with the aggregate material 1 to reduce the effects of impurities like sulfur in the feed stream. A plurality of different catalysts for example, compounds of calcium or magnesium, which are well known in the industry are optionally used to remove the impurities and their products from the final products of the thermal process.

[0055] After a predetermined time, which can be as short as two minutes or as long as 60 minutes, the fluid in the reactor 2 is vented to allow the vaporized products to be produced. The residence time in the pressure vessel 2 depends on the size of the vessel and the intrinsic properties of the hydrocarbonaceous solid material. The vaporized products 43 contain principally a higher grade hydrocarbon, combustion products and solids. A higher grade hydrocarbon is one of higher API gravity.

[0056] In another embodiment of the invention, referring to FIG. 2, a fluid circulating system comprising a pump or compressor device 15, a fluid supply 16, and a plurality of pipes 17, is used after the combustion step to circulate a drive fluid through the pressure vessel 2 in the direction 18 shown. The drive fluid, which can be any gaseous fluid and preferably the combustion products themselves, is used to scavenge the hydrocarbon products which have undergone chemical and physical changes during the thermal process. This scavenging process is similar to a cycling gas drive process, illustrated in Ref. 1, which is a common practice in enhanced oil recovery in the petroleum industry. In a gas cycling process dry natural gas is injected into and repeatedly circulated through the reservoir rock system to increase the oil recovery by enriching the oil components in the produced gas stream. The cycled gas repeatedly picks up more and more liquid oil components from the native hydrocarbons in the pore space traversed by the circulating gas. Since in each circulation of fluid the oil components are entrained from the aggregate particle surfaces, the free pore spaces and are added to the flowing gas stream, the required number of pore volumes of drive fluids to circulate is determined either empirically or from a series of chemical process calculations. After the required circulation time which normally involves less than 100 pore volumes requiring less than 15 minutes, the enriched combustion products containing the hydrocarbon vapors are then vented to the condensation system beginning at the solid trap 5. In this embodiment the gas is circulated either upward or downward in the reactor device.

[0057] A further embodiment to the invention is shown in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 in which a vertical combustion tunnel 34 is implemented in the center of the aggregate material 1 in the pressure vessel 2. This combustion tunnel 34 which is essentially a vertical void or space, can be implemented in a variety of shapes is shown as a "star" in cross-section in FIG. 5. This implementation is similar in principle and function to the vertical axial tunnel used in solid rocket booster motors shown in Ref. 2, in which the rocket fuel burns more uniformly, rapidly and efficiently along the vertical axis and also across the horizontal axis. The implementation of the tunnel 34 as shown shortens the distance traveled by the combustion front as it moves horizontally across the aggregate material 1. FIG. 9 shows the movement of the combustion front as it consumes the hydrocarbon material 27 in the aggregate 1 by successively burning through the solid material away from the central combustion tunnel 34. The combustion tunnel 34 allows uniform controlled burn, it also allows a rapid burn since the combustion front has to move radially only a few inches in the horizontal direction outward from the central axis of the pressure vessel 2, rather than vertically a distance of several feet if the burn were initiated from the base of the pressure vessel only and front movement was limited to planar movement from the base of the vessel upwards. A further embodiment of the combustion tunnel is implemented by utilizing a fuel pack 37, shown in FIG. 8, which is a consumable pack comprising a combustion accelerator which is operatively placed in the combustion tunnel 34. The accelerator material is used to help maximize the combustion process throughout the aggregate column. Typical accelerants can be solid, liquid or gels which can burn rapidly and uniformly across the total axis of the fuel pack. A further embodiment of the invention involves the implementation of a plurality of vertical combustion tunnels 34 in the reactor 2, this embodiment will be most beneficial in reactors that have large areal cross-sections.

[0058] In one embodiment, the invention provides a method in which hydrogen can be optionally injected into the reactor to provide a reactant for hydrocracking and hydrogenation of the hydrocarbon products. Referring to FIG. 1 a hydrogen supply system 44 comprising compressors and piping to allow high-pressure hydrogen to be injected into the pressure vessel 2 containing the combusting mixture. The hydrogen is injected after the combustion process is completed and the hydrocarbon has undergone a phase change. At the reactor high temperature, the vaporized hydrocarbon can react more effectively with the injected hydrogen to upgrade the hydrocarbons produced from the aggregate material.

[0059] Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 in which the wall of the pressure vessel 2 is modified by a composite sheath construction. This composite construction allows the vessel to maintain required vessel strength, to lower vessel construction costs, and to increase the economic benefits of the oil recovery operation. As shown in FIG. 10 the pressure vessel 2 is wrapped in a high strength fiber sheath 29 similar to that used the construction of a high pressure gas cylinder for SCUBA diving or for compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel storage. In these two instances, the working pressures of the composite material cylinders are far in excess of 3,000 psi. As shown in FIG. 11 another modification of the pressure vessel 2 is the utilization of reinforced concrete sheath 31 around the pressure vessel 2 to increase the strength of the composite vessel. The use of a composite sheath for the pressure vessel 2 minimizes cost of manufacture without sacrificing the strength or integrity of the vessel.

[0060] Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 12 which illustrates a cooling system comprising a coolant reservoir 19, a cooling jacket and associated piping 20, a pump 21, a heat exchanger 22. A plurality of pressure vessels 2 are implemented as a cluster and surrounded by a common cooling jacket 20. During the operation of the invention, coolant fluid 23, 24, 25 is circulated around the pressure vessels to remove the sensible heat and lower the wall temperatures of the pressure vessels 2. Lowering of the vessel wall temperatures increases the operational pressures of the pressure vessels 2 since at higher temperatures the tensile strength of the steel decreases.

[0061] In one embodiment of the invention, the heat energy stored in the hot spent aggregate at the output feed system 3 shown in FIG. 1 is used to preheat the incoming aggregate feed 1 by the use of an air heated exchanger system in which the hot air generated off the spent aggregate preheats the incoming aggregate through a pre-heater system 45. This pre-heating phase raises the aggregate feed temperature and at the same time decreases the fraction of water in the aggregate material by evaporating and vaporizing part of the in-situ water as the temperature is raised. Since the latent heat of vaporization is a significant component to the heat requirements of the reactor process, decreasing the water content lowers the heat requirements, and thus the amount of hydrocarbon which is required to be burnt to complete the reaction in the pressure vessel 2. This approach increases the economics of operation of the invention since more oil is recovered from the aggregate.

[0062] It is an object of the invention, therefore, to provide a new and efficient method for the extraction of hydrocarbons from solids containing such material and particularly from tar sands, oil shales and other heavy oil deposits. Another object of the present invention is to provide the rapid and economical production of various products from the hydrocarbonaceous solids.


[0063] 1. SPE 1813, "Equilibrium Revaporization of Retrograde Condensate by Dry Gas Injection", Society of Petroleum Engineers, Dallas Tex., SPE Journal, March 1968, p 87-94. [0064] 2 Solid Rocket Booster Engines Design, [0065] 3. SPE 35392, "Combustion/Oxidation Behavior of Athabasca Oil Sands Bitumen", Society of Petroleum Engineers, Dallas Tex. [0066] 4. Annual Review of Energy, November 1987, Vol. 12. pages 283-356. "Tar Sand Research and Development at the University of Utah". 001435 [0067] 5. "Pressurised Fluidised Reactor", d%20bed%20reactor.pdf [0068] 6. "Development of Foster Wheeler's Vision 21 Partial Gasification Module", A. Robertson, Foster Wheeler Development Corp., Vision 21 Review Program, Livingston N.J. Nov. 6, 2001. [0069] 7. "Oil sand and Oil Shale Chemistry", Otto P. Strausz and Elizabeth M Lown., Verlag Chemie, NY. Weinhem 1978. ISBN 0-89573-102-9 [0070] 8. "Heavy Oil and Tar Sands Recovery and Upgrading", M. M Schumacher, Editor, Noyes data Corporation, Park Ridge, N.J. USA. 1982. ISBN-0-8155-0893-X.

[0071] 9. "Oil Sands Fuel of the Future", L. V. Hills, Editor, McAra printing, Calgary, Canada. 1974. TABLE-US-00001 TABLE 1 Item List No Description 1 Hydrocarbon containing aggregate 2 Pressure Vessel 3 Spent Feed system 4 Input Feed system 5 Solid Trap 6 Air cooled Condenser 7 Heavy oil Separator 8 Liquid Cooled Condenser 9 Light Oil Separator 10 Gas Vent 11 Collection system 12a Oxidizer 12b Oxidizer Supply 12c Supplemental Fuel Supply 12d Supplemental Fuel 13 Ignition Device 14 Igniter pack 15 Circulating Pump 16 Fluid Supply 17 Circulating pipes 18 Direction of flow 19 Coolant reservoir 20 Cooling Jacket 21 Pump 22 Heat Exchanger 23 Coolant Fluid 24 Hot Coolant 25 Cold Coolant 26 Sand Grain 27 Solid Hydrocarbon e.g Bitumen 28 Connate Water 29 Reinforced Fibre wrapping 30 Reinforcing bar in cement sheath 31 Cement Sheath 32 Initial Combustion Front 33 Late Stage Combustion Front 34 Combustion Tunnel 35 Cross-section Line 36 Hot Combustion Gases 37 Fuel Pack 38 Outer high pressure zone 39 Intermediate pressure zone 40 Inner low pressure zone 41 Surface of aggregate particle 42 Direction of hot gas flow into aggregate 43 Combustion Products 44 Hydrogen Supply 45 Aggregate Preheater system

[0072] TABLE-US-00002 TABLE 2 BITUMEN ENERGY BALANCE Quantity Units Basis 1 Ton 2,000 lbs Percent - Bitumen 13% Percent -Water 3% Bitumen in 1 Ton 260 lbs Bitumen-Heat Value 18,486 BTU/Lb Sand in 1 Ton 1680 Lbs Water in 1 Ton 60 Lbs Heat Transfer Efficiency -% 90% Re-Heat Transfer Efficiency -% 70% Sand Density 110 lb/ft3 Bitumen Sp Cr 1.0077 Bitumen Density 62.88 Ib/ft3 Bitumen Fraction 0.13 Heat Capacity water 1.00 Btu/lb/F. Latent Heat Steam 1180 BTU/Lb Bitumen Sp. Heat Capacity 0.35 Btu/lb/F. Sand Sp. Heat Capacity 0.19 Btu/lb/F. Overall Sp. Heat Capacity 0.2108 Btu/lb/F. Heat Required per ton Material to Boiling 470.2 BTU Pt. Overall Sp. Heat Capacity to Boiling Pt 0.2351 Btu/lb/F. Heat Required per ton to vaporize water 70,800 BTU Process Variables On 1 Ton Basis: 2,000 Bitumen Burnt 10.00% Weight Bitumen-lb 26 Heat Produced-Btu (Available) 480,636 Heat for Latent Vaporization (Approximate) 70,800 Heat Available for sensible changes. 409,836 Weight Sand + Bitumen + Water lb 2000 Total Heat Capacity - Btu/F. 470.2 Heat Transfer Efficiency -% 90% Temperature Rise - F. 784 Ambient temp - F. 65 Temperature Level of Material -F. 849 Temperatures Needed Melting Pt - C. 350 Temperatures Needed - F. 662 Overheat Degrees - F. 187 Remaining Bitumen - Lbs 234 Remaining Sand - Lbs 1,680 Temperature Difference to Ambient - F. 784 Residual Heat in Sand - BTU 250,399 Re-Heat Transfer Efficiency -% 70% Heat Transferred to incoming Material - 175,279 BTU Heat to Vaporize incoming water - BTU 70,800 Heat to raise bitumen, sand, water - BTU 104,479 Temperature Rise - F. 222 Temperature of Incoming PreHeated Aggre- 287 gate - F.

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