Water-based bitumen recovery from diluent-conditioned oil sands

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Important process development aspects leading to more efficient bitumen recovery from diluent‐conditioned oil sands by water‐based methods are discussed. Bitumen viscosity of 0.5–2 Pa·s is required at the processing temperature and can be reduced to this level by bitumen dilution with an organic solvent. Oil sand porosity, however, poses a restriction on the amount of diluent that can be accepted by the oil sand. Also oil sand‐diluent conditioning time is an important process parameter and can vary from a few minutes for oil sands with low‐viscosity bitumen to several hours if viscosity of the bitumen is high. Additionally, the bitumen separation efficiency during digestion and flotation can be enhanced by reducing the bitumen/water interfacial tension through addition, for example, of tripolyphosphate to the aqueous phase.

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© 2004 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.5450820513