Low-cost catalysts and methodologies for partial upgrading of bitumen

Low-cost catalysts and methodologies for partial upgrading of bitumen


In this collaborative program, the PI's will address the fundamental science and engineering technology for partial upgrading of asphaltene-rich heavy petroleum, reducing both viscosity and density to meet or exceed pipeline specifications.  Our specific objectives are to develop asphaltene-selective chemical and/or physical transformations of bitumen, inducing nanoaggregate dissociation and dissolution in the bitumen matrix.  To accomplish this, two key investigations will be pursued:


(1) Asphaltene-selective catalytic hydrogenation/hydrogenolysis.  Unprecedented catalysts, designed for selective binding and reduction of  extended aromatic and heteroaromatic ring systems, are exploited for selective passivation of the functionality that drives asphaltene aggregation, transforming asphaltene aggregates into soluble naphthenic compounds.  


(2) Directed chemical transformation/deaggregation of asphaltenes.  Asphaltene-selective chemical processing of bitumen will be developed, by adapting reactions known to be selective for polar (N, O, S) and polycyclic heteroaromatic compounds, abundant only in the asphaltene fraction. 


In principal, asphaltene-selective upgrading of raw bitumen under mild conditionsraises the prospect of energy-efficient, small-footprint bitumen upgrading at the mine site, eliminating the need for capital-intensive investment, generating higher value products, and offering significant reductions in environmental exposure.

Base metal-catalyzed, additive-free C–O bond cleavage of β-O-4 lignin model compounds

Natalia Semagina, Jeffrey Stryker, Asama Vorapattanapong, Orain Brown

Conference/Workshop

Heterobimetallic catalysts for selective desulfurization and deoxygenation of aromatic residues

Orain Brown

Conference/Workshop

Low-cost catalysts and methodology for partial upgrading of bitumen

Orain Brown

Conference/Workshop

A Sulfided Homogeneous Iron Precatalyst for Partial Hydrogenation and Hydrodesulfurization of Polycyclic Aromatic Model Asphaltenes

Jeffrey Stryker, William McCaffrey, Benjamin Antwi Peprah, Orain Brown

Scholarly Refereed Journal

Deciphering the Asphaltenes: Hypothesis-driven Design and Development of Synthetic Model Compounds

Jeffrey Stryker, David Scott

Scholarly Refereed Journal

First Row Metal Catalysts for Hydrogenolysis of Carbon–Sulfur*and*Carbon-Oxygen Bonds

Orain Brown

PhD Thesis

Inhibition of diolefin hydrogenation by quinoline

Natalia Semagina, Jing Shen

Article in professional or trade journals

Kinetics of HDS and HDN on Nb-Cu Catalysts

Natalia Semagina, Amir Rouhi

Scholarly Refereed Journal

Nickel Nanocatalysts for Potassium Alkoxide-Promoted Hydrodesulfurization of Dibenzothiophene Under Mild Conditions

Jeffrey Stryker, Robin Hamilton, Orain Brown

Scholarly Refereed Journal

Potassium Hydride-mediated Hydrodesulfurization Catalyzed by Cobalt

Asama Vorapattanapong

PhD Thesis

Potassium-aided processes for sulfur removal from bitumen

Research Report