A Novel Energy-Efficient Pyrolysis Process: Self-pyrolysis of Oil Shale Triggered by Topochemical Heat in a Horizontal Fixed Bed

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Abstract

This paper proposes a novel energy-efficient oil shale pyrolysis process triggered by a topochemical reaction that can be applied in horizontal oil shale formations. The process starts by feeding preheated air to oil shale to initiate a topochemical reaction and the onset of self-pyrolysis. As the temperature in the virgin oil shale increases (to 250–300°C), the hot air can be replaced by ambient-temperature air, allowing heat to be released by internal topochemical reactions to complete the pyrolysis. The propagation of fronts formed in this process, the temperature evolution, and the reaction mechanism of oil shale pyrolysis in porous media are discussed and compared with those in a traditional oxygen-free process. The results show that the self-pyrolysis of oil shale can be achieved with the proposed method without any need for external heat. The results also verify that fractured oil shale may be more suitable for underground retorting. Moreover, the gas and liquid products from this method were characterised, and a highly instrumented experimental device designed specifically for this process is described. This study can serve as a reference for new ideas on oil shale in situ pyrolysis processes.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number8290
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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