ISUT: A Breakthrough in Transporting Ultra-Dispersed Catalysts for Sustainable Heavy Oil Upgrading

"Unlocking eco-friendly heavy oil upgrades through catalyst transport in rock formations. #SustainableEnergy"

ISUT: A Breakthrough in Transporting Ultra-Dispersed Catalysts for Sustainable Heavy Oil Upgrading
May 25, 2023

The quest for sustainable methods to unlock heavy oil and bitumen resources has led to the development of NanosTech's innovative ISUT technology (In Situ Upgrading Technology). This groundbreaking approach utilizes ultra-dispersed catalyst particles to catalytically upgrade heavy oil during thermal recovery processes. Overcoming the challenge of effectively transporting these catalyst particles through porous rock formations is a critical step towards achieving environmentally friendly heavy oil upgrading. In this blog post, we will explore the solid experimental basis supporting the effectiveness of NanosTech's ISUT in transporting ultra-dispersed catalysts.

Experimental Study on Transporting Catalyst Particles (NanosTech's NanoCatalyst)

Researchers from the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary conducted a comprehensive experimental study to investigate the feasibility of transporting ultra-dispersed catalyst particles through sand packs. These sand packs simulate the porous rock formations found in oil reservoirs. By analyzing fluid samples and examining the sand bed, the researchers gained valuable insights into the behaviour and fate of the catalyst particles during transport.

Key Findings

  1. Successful Propagation of Ultra-Dispersed Catalyst Suspension

The experimental results demonstrated that it is indeed possible to propagate ultra-dispersed catalyst suspensions through sand beds. This breakthrough finding is a significant step forward in realizing the potential of in situ upgrading of heavy oil using nanosized catalysts. It opens up new possibilities for sustainable and efficient heavy oil recovery.

  1. Minimal Permeability Damage

One important aspect of the study was assessing the impact of catalyst particle retention on the sand pack's permeability and productivity. Encouragingly, the research revealed that the retention of nanoparticles at low concentrations had negligible effects on pressure drop and caused no significant permeability damage. This means that the transport of ultra-dispersed catalyst particles is unlikely to impair the reservoir's productivity, which is vital for successful oil recovery operations.

  1. Uniform Distribution of Retained Particles

In experiments conducted without connate water (naturally occurring water present in rock formations), the retained catalyst particles exhibited a more uniform distribution along the core length. This finding suggests that the absence of connate water can lead to a more predictable and controlled deposition of catalyst particles. Such predictability is crucial for optimizing the efficiency of the in situ upgrading process.

  1. Stable and Long-Term Catalyst Placement

The deposition of catalyst particles within the sand pack was found to be irreversible. Once the particles were deposited, they remained firmly in place and could not be easily remobilized by reverse flow of the suspending medium. This stability and long-term effectiveness of the catalyst placement are promising indicators of the technology's potential for sustained and efficient heavy oil upgrading within the reservoir. In addition, as the particles are irreversibly retained, only a small proportion of the reservoir around the injector needs to be "decorated"  forming a fixed bed of catalyst which keeps  its activity for a long time

Implications and Future Prospects

The positive findings from this experimental study provide strong support for NanosTech's ISUT as a highly promising solution for sustainable heavy oil upgrading. By enabling the efficient transport of ultra-dispersed catalyst particles through porous media, this technology offers a viable pathway to unlock vast heavy oil deposits worldwide. Regions rich in heavy oil resources, such as Canada, Venezuela, and the United States, stand to benefit greatly from this environmentally friendly approach.

The experimental study on the transport of ultra-dispersed catalyst particles through porous media provides solid evidence supporting the effectiveness of NanosTech's ISUT. With the ability to successfully propagate nanosized catalyst suspensions, this technology represents a breakthrough in the sustainable upgrading of heavy oil and bitumen resources. To learn more about ISUT and its potential applications, please visit our [Contact Us Page].

Energy Fuels: 2010, 24, 4980–4988

Experimental Study on Transport of Ultra-Dispersed Catalyst Particles in Porous Media

Amir Zamani, Brij Maini,* and Pedro Pereira-Almao