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Thermogravimetric Analysis of Solvent Interaction with Model TSRU Tailings Components Open Access


Other title
solvent recovery
paraffinic solvent
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ansari, Nesma Nasir
Supervisor and department
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Liu, Qingxia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Liu, Qingxia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Trivedi, Japan (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Solvents are ubiquitously used in oil sands extraction industry to enhance the separation of bitumen froth. With developing new technologies such as non-aqueous bitumen extraction, the need to track solvent interactions with oil sands components throughout the extraction process and to identify potential causes of solvent loss is becoming increasingly important. While the use of solvents offers substantial processing gains, the loss of solvents to waste streams is not only expensive but also poses environmental concerns. Tailings solvent recovery units (TSRU) are used to recover solvent from the froth treatment tailings stream. With less than 100% solvent recovered, further research is required to better understand the unrecovered solvent. In the current study, the interaction of solvent with model tailings components is studied using thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The studies on solvent interaction with clays, asphaltenes and mixed systems confirm that operating temperatures higher than 100 oC are required to recover all the solvent. While unassociated or surface-wet solvent is easily removed, a small fraction of the solvent (paraffinic - 60% n-pentane, 40% i-pentane by mass) can be considered to interact with clays and strongly interact with asphaltenes. Approximately ~10% of the solvent interacts with asphaltenes and less than ~1% with ‘clean’ clays.
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