Microstructural imaging and characterization of oil shale before and after pyrolysis

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Title: Microstructural imaging and characterization of oil shale before and after pyrolysis
Authors: Saif, T
Lin, Q
Bijeljic, B
Blunt, MJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The microstructural evaluation of oil shale is challenging which demands the use of several complementary methods. In particular, an improved insight into the pore network structure and connectivity before, during, and after oil shale pyrolysis is critical to understanding hydrocarbon flow behavior and enhancing recovery. In this experimental study, bulk analyses are combined with traditional and advanced imaging methods to comprehensively characterize the internal microstructure and chemical composition of the world’s richest oil shale deposit, the Green River Formation (Mahogany Zone). Image analysis in two dimensions (2-D) using optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and in three dimensions (3-D) using X-ray microtomography (µCT) reveals a complex and variable fine-grained microstructure dominated by organic-rich parallel laminations of the order of 10 µm thick which are tightly bound in a highly calcareous and heterogeneous mineral matrix. We also report the results of a detailed µCT study of the Mahogany oil shale with increasing pyrolysis temperature (300–500 °C) at 12 µm and 2 µm voxel sizes. The physical transformation of the internal microstructure and evolution of pore space during the thermal conversion of kerogen in oil shale to produce hydrocarbon products was characterized. The 3-D volumes of pyrolyzed oil shale were reconstructed and image processed to visualize and quantify the volume and connectivity of the pore space. The results show a significant increase in anisotropic porosity associated with pyrolysis between 400 and 500 °C with the formation of micro-scale connected pore channels developing principally along the kerogen-rich lamellar structures. Given the complexity and heterogeneity of oil shale, we also characterize the representative size at which porosity remains constant. Our results provide a direct observation of pore and microfracture development during oil shale pyrolysis and the petrophysical measurements from this study serve as valuable input parameters to modeling oil shale pyrolysis processes.
Issue Date: 16-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance: 13-Feb-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/49429
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.02.030
ISSN: 0016-2361
Publisher: ELSEVIER
Start Page: 562
End Page: 574
Journal / Book Title: FUEL
Volume: 197
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Sponsor/Funder: PETROLEO BRASILEIRO S. A. PETROBRAS
Chevron Energy Technology Company
Maersk Oil Research & Technology Centre
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC)
Funder's Grant Number: N/A
N/A
Contract C- 8600003656
15051073
Keywords: Science & Technology
Technology
Energy & Fuels
Engineering, Chemical
Engineering
Oil shale
Kerogen
Pyrolysis
Imaging
Pore structure
Representative sample size
GREEN RIVER FORMATION
MACROMOLECULAR STRUCTURE ELEMENTS
X-RAY
PORE STRUCTURE
COMPREHENSIVE UTILIZATION
KEROGEN PYROLYSIS
MINERAL MATRIX
PARTICLE-SIZE
HEATING RATE
UINTA BASIN
0904 Chemical Engineering
0913 Mechanical Engineering
0306 Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural)
Energy
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.02.030
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering



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