Catalytic Decomposition of n-C-7 Asphaltenes Using Tungsten Oxides-Functionalized SiO2 Nanoparticles in Steam/Air Atmospheres
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DepartmentCiencia de los Materiales e Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Química Inorgánica
SourceProcesses, Vol. 10, Núm. 2
A wide range of technologies are being developed to increase oil recovery, reserves, and perform in situ upgrading of heavy crude oils. In this study, supported tungsten oxide nanoparticles were synthesized, characterized, and evaluated for adsorption and catalytic performance during wet in situ combustion (6% of steam in the air, in volumetric fraction) of n-C-7 asphaltenes. Silica nanoparticles of 30 nm in diameter were synthesized using a sol-gel methodology and functionalized with tungsten oxides, using three different concentrations and calcination temperatures: 1%, 3%, 5% (mass fraction), and 350 degrees C, 450 degrees C, and 650 degrees C, respectively. Equilibrium batch adsorption experiments were carried out at 25 celcius with model solutions of n-C-7 asphaltenes diluted in toluene at concentrations from 100 mg center dot L-1 to 2000 mg center dot L-1, and catalytic wet in situ combustion of adsorbed heavy fractions was carried out by thermogravimetric analysis coupled to FT-IR. The results showed improvements of asphaltenes decomposition by the action of the tungsten oxide nanoparticles due to the reduction in the decomposition temperature of the asphaltenes up to 120 degrees C in comparison with the system in the absence of WOX nanoparticles. Those synthesis parameters, such as temperature and impregnation dosage, play an important role in the adsorptive and catalytic activity of the materials, due to the different WOX-support interactions as were found through XPS. The mixture released during the catalyzed asphaltene decomposition in the wet air atmosphere reveals an increase in light hydrocarbons, methane, and hydrogen content. Hydrogen production was prioritized between 300 and 400 degrees C where, similarly, the reduction of CO, CH4, and the increase in CO2 content, associated with water-gas shift, and methane reforming reactions occur, respectively. The results show that these catalysts can be used either for in situ upgrading of crude oil, or any application where heavy fractions must be transformed.
Subjectsnanomaterials; catalysis; silica; asphaltenes; sodiumtungstate; tungsten oxide; wet combustion
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