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Title: Clean and secure energy from domestic oil shale and oil sands resources: Quarterly progress report: January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010
Authors: Smith, Philip J.
Issue Date: 13-May-2010
Publisher: University of Utah, Institute for Clean and Secure Energy
Citation: Quarterly Progress Report: January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010
Type: report
Pages: 35
Abstract: The Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources program is part of the research agenda of the Institute for Clean and Secure Energy (ICSE) at the University of Utah. In this quarter, the Clean and Secure Energy program continued its focus on enhancing industrial, national laboratory, and academic connections with visits from Calera, Praxair, Sage Geotech, Sandia National Lab, Idaho National Lab, and Los Alamos National Lab and a visit to Utah State University to discuss opportunities for intrastate collaboration on energy -related projects. Efforts to enhance ICSE outreach tools (the repository, the interactive map, and the website) also continued. The current focus of the repository is to upload publications by ICSE researchers.The interactive map has been augmented with water-related data. Two new features were also added to the interactive map: the ability to save the map as an image (and print it, if desired), and the ability to search for features on the map by name. A new ICSE website was rolled out in January that is meant to better reflect the multidisciplinary nature of ICSE and to provide easier access to ICSE information and outreach tools. In Task 3.0, ICSE researchers have finished gathering literature data on the potential of oxy-fuel for CO2 capture in refining and oil sands upgrading operations and have computed estimates of life-cycle well-to-pump CO2 emissions for crude oil refining under both baseline and process heater oxy-firing conditions. Researchers are also performing simulations of the oxy-gas fired test furnace at the International Flame Research Foundation. The initial test matrix considers two scenario parameters (natural gas and O2 flow rates) and one model parameter (boundary condition applied to the walls of the computational domain). Each simulation requires 360 processors for approximately 72 hours. The simulations are currently being run on ICSE computing facilities. In Task 4.0, ICSE researchers are focused on the vertical integration of all subtasks into an overarching simulation that considers liquid fuel production from the in-situ thermal treatment of oil shale/sands. Discussion this quarter focused on obtaining a fresh core sample from the Mahogany zone of the Green River Formation in Utah’s Uinta Basin. A plan to piggyback on drilling that Oil Shale Exploration Company (OSEC) will be conducting this spring on their private land has been made. The Subtask 4.1 team determined that the simulation of the ECOSHALE capsule needed to include the actual geometry of the pieces of shale. The simulation software Star-CCM+ can handle a complex geometry and can accurately model the convective currents through the channels of the rubblized bed found within the ECOSHALE capsule. The Subtask 4.2 team constructed the west-to-east (W-E) cross section of 4 wells across a 24-mile region in Utah’s Uinta Basin with a goal to provide better geologic models to reservoir simulations in the basin. The team also studied the application of the Friedman method and “model free” methods. to better determine the relationship between conversion and activation energy in kerogen conversion kinetics for reservoir simulation. Researchers in Subtask 4.3 used thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) with mass spectrometry (MS) to study pyrolysis of oil shale samples at different heating rates. The addition of MS to the TGA experiments allows for product identification as the pyrolysis process unfolds. The Subtask 4.4 team collected oil and water samples from hydrous pyrolysis experiments to compare with the non-hydrous (ordinary) pyrolysis. Aromatics and alkenes were higher in concentration in hydrous pyrolysis compared to ordinary pyrolysis at the same conditions. The water samples will be sent to a commercial laboratory to obtain concentrations of dissolved organics. In Subtask 4.5, the team performed detailed 3D imaging of oil shale core before and after pyrolysis. The pore structure of the pyrolyzed samples deduced from the images was used for Lattice Boltzmann simulations to calculate the permeability in the pore space. The permeabilities of the silicate-rich zone were on the order of milli-Darcies, while the reacted core permeabilities of the kerogen-rich zone were very anisotropic and about four orders of magnitude higher. ISCE researchers in Subtask 4.6 began ab initio calculations and molecular dynamics simulation of asphaltenes with the objectives of developing 3D models of asphaltenes based on existing 2D model, studying agglomeration of asphaltenes and studying the interaction between asphaltenes and mineral matter. In Task 5.0, ICSE researchers continued to monitor and review litigation challenging the federal oil shale leasing rule, the Programmatic EIS for oil shale and oil sands leasing, and the multiple resource management plans containing land use stipulations applicable to oil shale- and oil sands-bearing lands. Researchers also completed and submitted a Topical Report entitled “Policy Analysis of Water Availability and Use Issues For Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Development.” In Task 6.0, the research team developed a methodology to be used for the economic analysis of various heavy oil production methods and subsequent upgrading methods. Supply costs for the various scenarios will use industrial standard methods for the estimation of capital and operating costs for each year over the life of the project and standard accounting methods to establish discounted cash flow predictions for the project. The team also reviewed and began drafting analysis of research related to the realities and perceptions of the carbon footprint of oil sands development in Canada. Lastly, researchers identified and described the methodology applied to assess the impact of downstream market conditions on potential revenue from upstream scenarios. Oil price risk will be accounted for using a model of the price of the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) marker crude with parameters of this model established from oil price data and also tuned to reflect "what if" scenarios for the level and volatility of the future prices of oil.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/11009
Appears in Collections:ICSE Management

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