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Chemicals to Enhance Oil Water Separation in HTL Process

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000241940D
Publication Date: 2015-Jun-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 18K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Baker Hughes Incorporated: OWNER [+2]

Abstract

A new composition designed to destabilize emulsions formed by the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) treatment of biomass is disclosed herein. The HTL process heats the biomass to high temperature in the presence of water to convert it into liquid products suitable for uses such as petroleum refinery feedstocks. The liquid products often contain water in the form of an emulsion due to the natural surfactants present in the biomass and the high level of agitation used in the process. Emulsions reduce the value of the liquid products as it is a contaminant with less value than the oil and it can cause corrosion issues with equipment used to process and store the oil. The surfactants present in the biomass and liquid oil combined with the high shear conditions present in the HTL process can make very stable emulsions that are difficult to break. The emulsions may interfere with the conversion of the biomass to liquid oil and there may not be enough time between making the oil and transport to a customer for the water to separate. Special emulsion breakers (demulsifiers) which address not only the natural surfactants present but also HTL process conditions such as high agitation rates and specific water content have been discovered. These demulsifiers contain one or more of the following classes of chemicals: sulfonates, sulfate ethers, alkyl phenol resin oxyalkylates, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide homo and copolymers, alkoxylated alcohols and alkoxylated organic acids. Coagulants and flocculants may also be used in conjunction with the demulsifiers to obtain better resolution of the oil and water phases. The amount of demulsifier added to the process/liquid oil depends on the material’s composition, level of natural surfactants and process conditions but is determined using industry standard oilfield or refinery emulsion testing such as the bottle test.

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Chemicals to Enhance Oil Water Separation in HTL Process

A new composition designed to destabilize emulsions formed by the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) treatment of biomass is disclosed herein. The HTL process heats the biomass to high temperature in the presence of water to convert it into liquid products suitable for uses such as petroleum refinery feedstocks. The liquid products often contain water in the form of an emulsion due to the natural surfactants present in the biomass and the high level of agitation used in the process. Emulsions reduce the value of the liquid products as it is a contaminant with less value than the oil and it can cause corrosion issues with equipment used to process and store the oil. The surfactants present in the biomass and liquid oil combined with the high shear conditions present in the HTL process can make very stable emulsions that are difficult to break. The emulsions may interfere with the conversion of the biomass to liquid oil and there may not be enough time between making the oil and transport to a customer for the water to separate. Special emulsion breakers (demulsifiers) which address not only the natural surfactants present but also HTL process conditions such as high agitation rates and specific water content have been discovered.  These demulsifiers contain one or more of the following classes of chemicals: sulfonates, sulfate ethers, alkyl phenol resin oxyalkylates, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide homo and copolymers, alkoxylated alcohols and alkoxylat...