Innovation Anthology – Field Upgrading Uses Sodium to Remove Sulphur From Heavy Oil

November 24, 2016

What do beer, bitumen, and greenhouse gas emissions have in common?

That would be Neil Camarta. He’s president and founder of Field Upgrading.

Neil spent his engineering career building conventional upgraders which emit hydrogen sulphide and other noxious pollutants to the atmosphere.

Now he has teamed up with the Coors beer family and Alberta Innovates to commercialize a simple and clean upgrading technology for oil.

NEIL CAMARTA: So we use sodium. It’s a metal, but it melts at low temperature. It mixes really well with oil. And it’s as if it was programmed to remove all the dirty from dirty oil. It takes out all the sulphur, it takes out all the metals, it takes out all the acid. So it cleans up the oil. It doesn’t leave piles of coke or asphaltenes behind. But you’ve got to get the sodium back or you’ll go broke, because sodium is really expensive. And that’s where the Coors family come in because they have a – it’s called battery. When you remove the sulphur from the oil using sodium you make sodium sulphide. You put the sodium sulphide in this battery and it separates the sodium from the sulphur, so you’re able to recycle the sodium. And that’s it in a nutshell.

Neil Camarta says the next step for Field Upgrading is to build a demonstration plant at Fort Saskatchewan.

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