National Partial Upgrading Committee

Partial upgrading – sharing information among partners

The development of a new partial upgrading industry requires long-term industry-government partnership and continuous efforts to identify opportunities and barriers. The National Partial Upgrading Committee is directed toward this effort, offering a forum for oilsands producers and government agencies to share information, technology opportunities, and to develop studies on topics of common interest.

The National Partial Upgrading Committee works to accelerate innovation and technology development targeting partial upgrading of bitumen and heavy oil. New technologies have the potential to reduce or eliminate the use of diluent for pipeline transport, improve oil product quality and mitigate by-products, increase overall resource value and market access, and reduce environmental impacts.

Workshop on asphaltene properties and processing

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Workshop Objectives:

  1. Inform oilsands industry researchers on the current science of asphaltene molecular composition and behavior.
  2. Prompt the development of research projects on novel approaches to defining asphaltene behavior and enhancing utilization of this material by separations and or reactions.

Hypothesis Proposed by Oilsands Industry:

“The asphaltene fraction contains building blocks of material that are valuable for production of fuels, and material that is potentially valuable for carbon products.” This hypothesis indicates that new approaches to processing of asphaltene fractions, through some combination of separation and reaction, can increase their value compared to current commercial processes.
Workshop speakers and participants are invited to comment on the hypothesis, to agree or disagree, based on available data, theory, and experience.

Knowledge gaps to be addressed:

  1. Can we disaggregate asphaltenes to enable better separations? Reducing the molecular aggregation could be a platform for multiple new technology directions.
  2. Are new reaction pathways potentially valuable for disaggregation?
  3. Could combined reaction-separation approaches be beneficial?

Links to the presentations are below: