Effect of operating temperature on water-based oil sands processing

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Operating temperature is one of the most important controlling parameters in oil sands processing. Considering the massive energy consumption and green house gas emission, lowering the processing temperature is highly desirable. To achieve such an ambitious goal requires a comprehensive understanding on the role of temperature in oil sands processing. This paper provides an overview of major findings from existing studies related to oil sands processing temperature. The relation between temperature and bitumen recovery is discussed. The effect of temperature on the physiochemical properties of oil sand components, such as bitumen viscosity, bitumen surface tension and surface potentials of bitumen and solids, is analyzed. The interactions between bitumen and solids and between bitumen and gas bubbles as a function of temperature are recounted. Also discussed is the role of chemical additives in oil sand processing. It has been found that temperature affects nearly all properties of oil sands among which bitumen viscosity and bitumen‐solids adhesion impose a prominent impact on bitumen recovery. The use of selected chemical additives can reduce bitumen viscosity and/or the bitumen‐solids adhesion, and thus provide a possible way to process oil sands at a low temperature while maintaining a high bitumen recovery.

Publisher's Statement

© 2007 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.5450850518

Publication Title

The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering