Oil-Water Emulsion Breaking
OrganoCat conducted tests for one of the world’s largest oil companies. The project included the development of a strategy for separating tight emulsions of oil and water stabilized by naturally occurring surfactants and colloidal particles. The initial Proof of Concept phase work included both lab and pilot scale testing. The lab scale testing covered (1) Novel chemical additives to de-stabilize oil/ water emulsion, and (2) Novel strategy for selecting chemicals based on oil phase composition. It included developing and testing three (3) different types of reagents for water-in-oil emulsion separation. The testing indicated the best reagent and resulted in 83% water precipitation. The best reagent is 100% recoverable and recyclable. It is believed that more water can be precipitated with further testing and additional discovery. The pilot scale testing covered Novel mechanical separation process and physical disturbances (e.g. acoustic) to disrupt the oil-water interface. It included (a) creating a breaking agent at the pilot scale; (b) testing the vibroacoustical device (VibroChem) with the oil only for viscosity reduction; (c) testing of the water-in-oil emulsion, the vibroacoustical device, and a breaking agent (BA); and (d) testing the water-in-oil emulsion breaking using the VibroChem only. It was determined in (a) that a stable BA could be created using the pilot scale system. In (b), the oil only sample run through the VA resulted in a 26% viscosity reduction. The water-in-oil, BA and VA in (c) resulted in water separation, but the exact efficiency was not determined due to a system problem. Finally, in (d) the water-in-oil and Vibrochem resulted in a 75% efficiency in water separation.