Structural-Group Composition of Heavy Oil Conversion Products Using FTIR Spectroscopy

Author Name(s): *Ilmira M. Abdrafikova, Galina P. Kayukova
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The decrease of oil production with its simultaneous price increase and a growing demand for petroleum products leads to the importance increase of heavy hydrocarbon raw materials. The processing of heavy petroleum raw materials in water vapor using oxide type catalysts containing the metals of variable valence is a promising trend, but there are some problems for the study of liquid and solid conversion products of such raw materials that differ from traditional fractions of oil refining. There is the need to choose an informative research method that allows to analyze the structure and the composition of the products obtained quickly and with great accuracy. One of such methods is Fourier infrared spectroscopy method, widely used to study the structural-group composition of oil and petroleum products, which allows to determine more precisely the presence of certain functional groups in the composition of the products under study as compared to the chemical methods. Using Fourier infrared spectroscopy method, they studied the products of hydrothermal-catalytic conversion of heavy oil in a water vapor medium and in the presence of a natural hematite catalyst at the temperatures of 210, 250 and 300 °C. The effect of temperature and water content in the reaction mixture on the yield and the composition of experiment products is shown. Under the experimental conditions, a new formation of hydrocarbons takes place due to the destruction of high-molecular hydrocarbons, resins and asphaltenes. It has been established that the increase of temperature and the decrease of water content lead to the increase of test product aromaticity and oxidation degree with the development of insoluble asphaltene and coke product fraction. The method of Fourier infrared spectroscopy makes it possible to fix changes in the composition of products with a great accuracy and can serve as the control of heavy hydrocarbon raw material processing.


The decrease of oil production with its simultaneous price increase and the growing demand for petroleum products leads to the increase of heavy hydrocarbon raw material importance. The processing of heavy petroleum raw materials in water vapor using oxide type catalysts containing the metals of variable valence is a promising trend [1-6], but there are some problems concerning the study of liquid and solid products of such raw material conversion, which differ from traditional fractions of oil refining [1-14]. There is a need to select an informative research method that allows you to analyze the structure and the composition of obtained products quickly and accurately. One of such methods is Fourier infrared spectroscopy method, widely used to study the structural-group composition of oil and petroleum products, which allows us to identify functional groups more accurately as compared to chemical methods [15-24].

The aim of the work was to study the chemical transformations of high-molecular components of heavy oil during its thermal catalytic conversion using Fourier infrared spectroscopy spectroscopy method.


Thus, the conducted studies of heavy oil conversion products by Fourier infrared spectroscopy have made it possible to establish their composition and structure and draw the following conclusions:

– At the temperature of 210 °C and 1:1 ratio of water reaction system to oil, the chemical transformations of raw materials take place with the development of light hydrocarbons. The destruction of benzene and alcohol-benzene resins takes place according to the weakest bonds. It can be assumed that under these experimental conditions, the hematite and water catalyst act as hydrogen donors, preventing the development of unsaturated and oxidized structures.

– At the temperatures of 250 and 300 °C with a lower water content (the ratio of 1:5 and 1:10 for oil, respectively), more significant chemical transformations begin to occur, accompanied by the development of polymerization and condensation products in the form of insoluble asphaltenes and coke, characterized by a high degree of aromaticity. At the temperature of 250 °C, the yield of hydrocarbons increases due to the destruction of long alkyl substituents of resins and asphaltenes with the development of aromatic compounds. At a low content of water in the reaction system, which was a hydrogen donor, these processes are also accompanied by oxidative processes and enhanced condensation, which leads to a significant yield of highly aromatic oxidized products.

The results of the experiments make it possible to offer the most favorable conditions for the process performance, corresponding to the experience 2 of this work, namely: 250 °C and the water-oil content of 1:5 at least to avoid oxidative processes.


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