Oil Shale Process

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Oil shale processing is simply thermal cracking of kerogen which has complex and long hydrocarbon chains, at a temperature range between 400-550 ⁰C in the absence of Oxygen. Hot hydrocarbon vapors are produced from the process which yield as liquid and gas after condensation. There are mainly two type of processes; as in-situ and ex-situ retorting. In-situ retorting have applications for deep reserves due to minimization of mining costs and solid waste disposal but for shallow reserves they cannot compete with ex-situ methods.

In-situ methods is production of gas and oil underground as a result of heating the targeted shale layers underground. Although in-situ retorting has some environmental advantages such as easiness of waste disposal and minimum surface disturbance, contamination of underground water reserves still under being questioned.

Ex-situ applications consist of processing mined shale trough above ground processing plants. Plants are designed for lump shale processing or particulate shale processing. All ex-situ processes have common steps as preheating, pyrolysis, combustion of residual carbon, ash cooling, hydrocarbon distillation, filtration and fractionation.