Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Big Boosts in Oil Shale Production Possible

Worldwide oil shale reserves are in the multiple trillions of barrels of oil equivalent. The world's scientists are fighting energy obstructionists in the US Senate to develop this vital energy resource--and are showing progress.
The basics of releasing oil from oil shale is to heat the rock, either after mining in a retort, or in-situ via the use of electric heaters. (Earlier post.)

The easiest way to increase the efficiency of this method is to increase the thermal conductivity of the system or increase the reduction of the oil viscosity by using some additives. Metallic additives cause changes in the nature and the amount of fuel formed during in situ combustion.
—Hascakir et al. (2008)

Results from the in-situ heating simulations for oil shale (OS) samples. Click to enlarge. Data: Hascakir et al. (2008)

The researchers used oil shale samples obtained from different oil shale deposits in Turkey and added three different iron powders at three different doses were used. The experimental results were simulated using a commercial reservoir simulator, where the data required for field-scale simulation were obtained through history matching of production data and temperature distribution inside the core. They also simulated field-scale application of in-situ electrical heating .

Because iron powders help increase the thermal conductivity of the system, heat transfer was accomplished more efficiently, yielding increased oil production at laboratory conditions. Also, iron additives have a catalytic effect that increases the reaction speed. The chemical reactions between iron powders and shale oil help to break the chemical bonds by increasing the temperature and magnetic effect of iron powders on the reduction of oil viscosity, which caused an increase in the oil production after the addition of iron powders.
—Hascakir et al. (2008)

.... _GCC
More on this research from Brian Wang.



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