Removal of Asphaltene from Crude Oil by the Electro–Deposition Method

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The deposition of asphaltene on interior pipe surfaces is considered a challenging flow assurance issue. By exploiting the net charge of the asphaltene molecule, it can be effectively removed from the flow stream by means of electro–deposition before transportation to prevent later deposition. To evaluate this concept, electro–deposition of asphaltene from a synthetic oil using varying electric field strength and solvent type was studied. Both native charge (positive) and induced charge (negative) of asphaltene were observed in this study; the inducement of charge was realized with higher current density. Asphaltene solubility in the synthetic oil was increased by increasing the polar/non-polar solvent ratio revealing a higher conductivity of the synthetic oil. In addition to electric field strength and synthetic oil composition, the asphaltene concentration and synthetic oil viscosity also affected the electro-deposition.

Electrodeposition, Asphaltene stability, Pipelines, Heavy oil upgrading