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Bitumen beyond combustion (BBC) and valorization

Our research and development (R&D) supports the valorization of low-value hydrocarbon feedstocks through synthesis of high-value products and materials from bitumen-derived asphaltenes and petcoke, H2S, and light hydrocarbons.

Our areas of focus

CanmetENERGY Devon’s Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC) and Valorization program conducts R&D to convert low-value hydrocarbon feedstock into non-combustion products and high-value materials. We advance R&D in:

  • Asphaltenes valorization: a focus on production/isolation of asphaltenes from bitumen, the enhancement of asphaltenes properties, and characterization. We also explore new avenues for asphaltene utilization in electronic supercapacitors, building materials, and carbon fibers.
  • Petcoke valorization: Canada’s oil sands industry produces around 9 million tonnes of bitumen coke (or petcoke) as a low value by-product each year. Our R&D includes developing technologies for the desulfurization of petcoke, synthesis of active carbon, and conversion of petcoke to high-value nanostructured metal carbides.
  • Hydrogen production: a focus on hydrogen production from unconventional petroleum sources (blue hydrogen) and hydrogen consumption optimization in existing upgrading and refining operations.

Co-processing refers to the simultaneous processing of biogenic feedstocks – biocrudes, animal fats, vegetable oils, etc.–and intermediate petroleum fractions in existing petroleum refinery units to produce low-carbon transportation fuels.

Figure: Converting a well-characterized asphaltene sample into a carbon fiber material

Bitumen beyond combustion and valorization projects at CanmetENERGY Devon

Our current suite of R&D projects aims to convert bitumen and its by-products into high-value products, understand the chemistry and composition of petroleum coke, asphaltenes and heavy residue towards valorization, and proof-of-concept and bench scale studies.

Learn more about bitumen beyond combustion and valorization

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