Field Upgrading Limited is partnering with Ceramatec, an advanced ceramic material technology research and development company based in Salt Lake City, UT, to develop De-Sulphurization & Upgrading (DSU™), a breakthrough sour heavy sulphur removal and upgrading process.

The DSU™ process involves mixing elemental molten sodium and relatively small quantities of hydrogen with a sour feedstock to produce a low sulphur upgraded heavy oil product. The DSU™ product has a 8-10 API increase (related to the amount of sulphur in the feedstock) and contains:

 heavy metals
 TAN and a
          ...greatly reduced asphaltene fraction

The key to DSU™ is sodium, a potent reducing agent with a strong affinity for heteroatoms and metals interspersed in the complex hydrocarbon molecule.

Process Chemistry

DSU™ occurs in 3 general steps.

  1. Removal of metals, sulphur and nitrogen from bitumen: Sodium, along with small quantities of hydrogen, is mixed with sour feeds to break down the molecule by precipitating metals and preferentially seeking out and removing sulphur and nitrogen as salts.
  2. Radical capping of upgraded molecules using hydrogen: Hydrogen attach to the open ends of molecules that were exposed after removing the sulphur and metals to prevent formation of cyclic hydrocarbons and olefins.
  3. Recovery of sodium using a patented ceramic transport membrane reactor developed by Ceramatec: The sodium salts are dissolved in a solvent, and introduced to the ceramic membrane reactor. When electricity is applied to the ceramic membrane, elemental sodium is extracted ionically through the membrane and recycled to the process. The remaining product is elemental sulphur.

For more information on our DSU™ process, please view the following related links:

Ceramatec Licensing Molten Sodium Technology for Heavy Oil Upgrading; removing the need for diluent for bitumen