WO2015094384A1 - Removal of hydrocarbons from a feedstock - Google Patents

Removal of hydrocarbons from a feedstock Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2015094384A1
WO2015094384A1 PCT/US2014/000221 US2014000221W WO2015094384A1 WO 2015094384 A1 WO2015094384 A1 WO 2015094384A1 US 2014000221 W US2014000221 W US 2014000221W WO 2015094384 A1 WO2015094384 A1 WO 2015094384A1
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WO
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Prior art keywords
induction
feedstock
heatable objects
heatable
matrix
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PCT/US2014/000221
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Andrew James Maxwell
Gregory Gordon GOLD
John James MAXWELL
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Guardsman Group, Llc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B03SEPARATION OF SOLID MATERIALS USING LIQUIDS OR USING PNEUMATIC TABLES OR JIGS; MAGNETIC OR ELECTROSTATIC SEPARATION OF SOLID MATERIALS FROM SOLID MATERIALS OR FLUIDS; SEPARATION BY HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRIC FIELDS
    • B03CMAGNETIC OR ELECTROSTATIC SEPARATION OF SOLID MATERIALS FROM SOLID MATERIALS OR FLUIDS; SEPARATION BY HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRIC FIELDS
    • B03C1/00Magnetic separation
    • B03C1/02Magnetic separation acting directly on the substance being separated
    • B03C1/23Magnetic separation acting directly on the substance being separated with material carried by oscillating fields; with material carried by travelling fields, e.g. generated by stationary magnetic coils; Eddy-current separators, e.g. sliding ramp
    • B03C1/24Magnetic separation acting directly on the substance being separated with material carried by oscillating fields; with material carried by travelling fields, e.g. generated by stationary magnetic coils; Eddy-current separators, e.g. sliding ramp with material carried by travelling fields

Abstract

A dynamic process matrix of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and induction-heatable objects is created and then the induction-heatable objects are heated by exposure to a rapidly-changing magnetic field. Eddy currents are induced in the induction-heatable objects by exposure to the rapidly-changing magnetic field, and resistance in the induction-heatable objects causes them to increase in temperature. Heat transfers from the hot induction-heatable objects to the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in the dynamic process matrix. Heating of the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock causes liquid and/or gaseous hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock. The hydrocarbons may be collected for further processing, use or sale.

Description

[001] TITLE

[002] Removal of Hydrocarbons from A Feedstock [003] BACKGROUND

[004] Hydrocarbons are a valuable commodity and sources of them are in high demand. As traditional sources of hydrocarbons are depleted, such as oil which may be pumped from underground reservoirs, non-traditional and other sources of hydrocarbons need to be exploited. Such sources include oil shale, oil sands, tar sands, petroleum coke, coal, etc. In addition, many recyclables contain valuable hydrocarbons, such as waste plastic, used tires and other refuse.

[005] SUMMARY

[006] The inventions, as defined by the appended claims, in various embodiments can make use of a dynamic process matrix to heat a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and remove valuable hydrocarbons from it. The feedstock can be processed to an appropriate size, such as 1 inch minus (including or excluding fines, as desired). The feedstock can then be mixed with induction-heatabie objects to create a matrix. The induction- heatabie objects are expected to be 1/8 inch or larger but generally not greater than 1 inch for most applications of the inventions. The induction- heatabie objects should be conductive and resistive. The induction-heatabie objects can be heated by exposure to a rapidly-changing magnetic field. The magnetic field induces a current in the conductive induction-heatabie objects, and resistance in the induction-heatabie objects causes them to increase in temperature due to resistive heating. If the induction-heatabie objects are also magnetic, then additional heating of the induction-heatabie objects by magnetic hysteresis can be achieved. Heat is transferred from the induction-heatable objects to the feedstock in the matrix. Heating of the feedstock causes hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock in liquid and/or gaseous form. The hydrocarbons can then be collected for further processing, use or sale. Other objects, features and advantages of the inventions are disclosed herein, or will be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art upon reading this specification in light of the appended drawings.

[007] BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[008] Figure 1 depicts hydrocarbon processing system that uses one or more induction heaters (in the form of coils) to heat induction-heatable objects of a dynamic process matrix in order to transfer heat to a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in the matrix to cause hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock.

[009] Figure 2 depicts hydrocarbon processing where a dynamic process matrix of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and a plurality of induction- heatable objects moves into an induction heater where the plurality of induction-heatable objects in the dynamic process matrix are heated by electromagnetic induction, and then the matrix moves into a retort where hydrocarbons separate themselves from the feedstock as a result of such heating.

[010] Figure 3 depicts hydrocarbon processing where a dynamic process matrix of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and a plurality of induction- heatable objects is created and then placed into a retort where an induction coil heats the induction-heatable objects. Recirculation of hot induction- heatable objects pre-heats the feedstock prior to creation of the dynamic process matrix.

[01 1] Figure 4 depicts a variation on the concept of Figure 3, where multiple retorts are used in parallel. [012] Figure 5 depicts a system that continuously feeds a dynamic process matrix of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and a plurality of induction- heatable objects through an induction heater to remove hydrocarbons from the feedstock.

[013] Figure 6 depicts a system in which a dynamic process matrix of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and a plurality of induction-heatable objects is moved through a series of induction coils, each designed to efficiently and controllably raise the temperature of the induction-heatable objects and thus the temperature of the feedstock in the matrix to cause hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock.

[014] Figure 7 depicts a system where a coil moves with respect to a stationary matrix in order to heat the induction-heatable objects in the matrix and allow heat to be transferred to the feedstock in the matrix.

[015] Figure 8 depicts a continuous underground mining machine coupled with a mobile retort that can achieve great operational efficiency by in situ/underground removal and processing of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock within the formation in which it is found, thus minimizing mining costs.

[016] Figure 9 depicts more details of the example retort of Figure 8. [017] DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[018] Figure 1 depicts a hydrocarbon processing system that uses one or more induction heaters to heat induction-heatable objects. The induction heaters use a coil or electromagnet to create a rapidly-changing magnetic field that induces a current in the induction-heatable objects, causing them to increase in temperature. The induction-heatable objects may be heated before or after mixing with oil shale feedstock to form a dynamic process matrix, or both. The dynamic process matrix includes a volume of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock intermixed with a plurality of movable induction-heatable objects. The feedstock and the induction-heatable objects can reside in and/or travel together through a retort as a matrix. When sufficient heat transfers from the induction-heatable objects to feedstock in the matrix, hydrocarbons depart the feedstock and may be collected. Even distribution of heat throughout the feedstock in the dynamic process matrix is possible because at different points in time, different particles of feedstock are in intimate physical contact with different induction-heatable objects.

[019] In Figure 1 , hydrocarbon-containing feedstock 121 is transported to a retort 102 by an appropriate transportation means 101 (such as a conveyor or other material handling device). The retort 102 in this example is a vertically-oriented cylinder which utilizes gravity to move material downward as it is processed, although alternative retorts are possible within the scope of the inventive concept. The top of the retort has an input opening 103 through which hydrocarbon-containing feedstock 121 may be admitted. Prior to entry of feedstock 121 to the retort input opening 103, the feedstock 121 may be mixed with a plurality of induction-heatable objects 105 to form a dynamic process matrix 108 of feedstock and induction-heatable objects. The mixing of feedstock and induction-heatable objects to form a dynamic process matrix can occur before they enter the retort, as they enter the retort, within the retort, or otherwise as desired. The plurality of induction- heatable objects and the feedstock in the dynamic process matrix are dynamic and movable with respect to each other in order to cause intimate physical contact between each induction-heatable object and more than one particle of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock within the matrix. The matrix is dynamic and movable with respect to the retort and with respect to the induction heater.

[020] In this example, the induction-heatable objects 105 are heated via induction heating in an appropriate location or chamber 120. They are heated to a desired temperature for use in the retort to cause hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock. The induction heating of the induction-heatable objects in the example of Figure 1 may initially occur prior to formation of the matrix 108, although it could occur during formation of the matrix or after formation of the matrix. In this example, the induction-heatable objects are introduced to the induction-heating chamber 120 by a means for

transporting 106 such material, such as a conveyor, pipe auger or other material handling device.

[021] Thus, feedstock of a desired size may be mixed with a plurality of heated induction-heatable objects to form a dynamic process matrix prior to the matrix entering the retort. It is also possible to form the matrix within the retort. The induction chamber 1 0 may be part of an induction heater and may include or be surrounded by induction coils 107 and/or other structures appropriate to cause induction heating of the induction-heatable objects 105. In addition, once within the retort, induction coil 140 may be used to further heat the matrix or to maintain it within a desired temperature range. As induction heating can occur very quickly, residence time of the induction- heatable objects in a retort can be very short, such as a few seconds or a few minutes. The matrix can reside in the retort on a stationary basis in a batch process, or the matrix can move through the retort without stopping in a continuous process. Gravity or powered means can move the matrix through the retort. The walls of the vessel in which the induction-heatable objects are heated should be non-conductive in order to avoid interference with induction heating of the induction-heatable objects.

[022] As depicted in this example, the dynamic process matrix 108 resides stationary or dynamically (moving) in the retort 102, within the retort chamber 109, for a period of time necessary to allow heat to transfer from the induction-heatable objects in the matrix to the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and cause hydrocarbons to exit the feedstock. If the feedstock is oil shale, then the heating of the feedstock causes pyrolysis and release of hydrocarbons locked in kerogen in the oil shale. During the residence time of the matrix 108 within the retort chamber 109, liquid oil 111 will tend to drain from the feedstock, and can be collected and transported by a conduit 199 or other means to a location for further processing or sale. Also, hydrocarbon vapors 130 will exit the feedstock and may be collected by a vapor collection apparatus 110 for further processing, such as condensation, and sale.

[023] Spent feedstock from which hydrocarbons have been removed, and induction-heatable objects 112 can exit the retort chamber through an exit opening 1 13. An appropriate device such as a conveyor or other material handling means 1 14 may be used to facilitate material removal from the retort. Spent feedstock and induction-heatable objects may then be processed through a separator 115. Separated spent feedstock 116 may then be removed for disposal or other handling, and separated induction- heatable objects 105 may be returned by an elevator 1 17 or other material handling device to the conveyor 106 for re-use, or may be otherwise disposed of. Additional liquid products 120 can also be removed at this point.

[024] In the example system just discussed, the induction-heatable objects may be heated prior to introduction to the retort. As an alternative, the induction-heatable objects can be pre-heated prior to placement in the retort by coil 107, but can be further heated within the retort by coil 140. Or the induction-heatable objects can be heated to a desired temperature prior to placement in the retort, and then kept within a desired temperature range within the retort by powering coil 140 continuously or periodically. Use of multiple retorts in series or by other arrangement is possible.

[025] Referring to Figure 2, hydrocarbon-containing feedstock 230 and a plurality of induction-heatable objects 231 are mixed with each other to form a matrix 232. As the induction-heatable objects 231 are re-used from the prior retort of other feedstock, some recycling of heat can be achieved if the induction-heatable objects are returned to processing flow quickly enough. And if the induction-heatable objects are transported adjacent to the feedstock, such as in common pathway 299, heat from induction-heatable objects being recycled can pre-heat the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock prior to it entering the induction heater or retort, resulting in an energy savings. [026] The matrix 232 enters an appropriate induction heater 233 where the induction-heatable objects in the dynamic process matrix are heated by electromagnetic induction while the matrix is dynamically moving through the induction heater. Then the matrix 232 which now includes a plurality of hot induction-heatable objects passes into a retort 234 where heat from the induction-heatable objects transfers to the feedstock, causing hydrocarbon release from the feedstock. As the dynamic process matrix moves through or within the retort, dynamic relative movement of feedstock in the matrix with induction-heatable objects in the matrix is expected, and will help achieve even heat distribution. Removal of liquid hydrocarbon products, gaseous hydrocarbon products, the spent feedstock, etc. is performed as generally outlined for Figure 1. It should be noted that if the induction- heatable objects are magnetic, then magnetic separation of the induction- heatable objects from the spent feedstock may prove very efficient.

[027] Referring to Figure 3, a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock 350 and a plurality of induction-heatable objects 351 are mixed to form a dynamic process matrix 353. The dynamic process matrix is introduced to the interior of a retort 355. Once inside the retort, induction heating means 354 is used to heat the induction-heatable objects. Induction heating means exposes the induction-heatable objects to a rapidly-changing magnetic field, causing them to increase in temperature. That heat is then absorbed by the feedstock in the matrix from intimate contact with hot induction-heatable objects. The heated hydrocarbon-containing feedstock releases

hydrocarbons. Fans or blowers 381 and 382 represent optional means for recirculating gases within a retort, to improve heating by gas movement or circulation.

[028] Referring to Figure 4, feedstock 460 is mixed with a plurality of induction-heatable objects 461 to form a dynamic process matrix 462. A distribution means 463 then distributes or allocates the dynamic process matrix 462 among multiple retorts 464a, 464b and 464c. The retorts may include chambers 470a, 470b and 470c and may include appropriate induction heating equipment 465a, 465b and 465c. The induction-heating equipment serves to heat the plurality of induction-heatable objects found within the matrix 462 that is present in the retort chambers 470a, 470b and 470c. Heat transfers from the induction-heatable objects to the feedstock and hydrocarbon release occurs.

[029] Referring to Figure 5, a dynamic process matrix of feedstock and a plurality of induction-heatable objects has been created prior to its entry to a retort. The dynamic process matrix 501 is located on a conveyor 502. A trapezoidal coil 503 is provided for induction heating the induction-heatable objects in the matrix. The conveyor causes the matrix to move through the shaped coil. If the coil is powered, it creates a rapidly-changing magnetic field which induces a current in the induction-heatable objects, which in turn causes the induction-heatable objects heat up due to their resistive nature. In turn, heat is transferred from the heated induction-heatable objects to the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in the matrix causing hydrocarbon release 504. This process may be performed within a confined region such as a retort 505 or otherwise. The retort 505 can include hydrocarbon vapor 599 collection means 506 and hydrocarbon liquid 507 collection means 508. A condenser or other apparatus for processing valuable gaseous

hydrocarbons is omitted from the figure. Induction-heatable objects 520 can be recovered post-retort, such as by a suitable separator 521 which could be magnetic. Spent feedstock 510 can be discarded.

[030] Referring to Figure 6, a conveyor or other transportation means 601 moves a dynamic process matrix of feedstock and induction-heatable objects through a series of stationary coils 603a, 603b, and 603c. Arrows 610a, 610b, 610c and 61 Od depict movement of the matrix through the stationary coils. If the coils are powered, then the induction-heatable objects within the matrix will be heated dynamically as the matrix moves. Heat will transfer to feedstock within the matrix, and hydrocarbon release from the feedstock will occur. Liquid 699 and gaseous 698 hydrocarbon products can be collected. The induction coils may be employed to progressively step up the temperature of the matrix from a first cooler temperature, to a second warmer temperature, and then to a third hot temperature.

Alternatively, one or more coils can be used to heat the matrix to a desired temperature, and subsequent coils can be used to keep the matrix within a desired temperature range to cause exit of valuable hydrocarbons from the feedstock. The coils can be shaped to cause them to be close to the induction-heatable objects within the matrix for best heating efficiency. More than three coils can be used if desired, or only two coils can be used if desired, or possibly only one coil.

[031] Referring to Figure 7, a vessel or retort 701 can be used to contain a quantity of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and induction-heatable objects in a dynamic process matrix 703. An electromagnet or coil 702 can be used to cause the induction-heatable objects within the matrix to increase in temperature. The coil 702 can be moved along the longitudinal axis of the retort in the directions shown by double-headed arrow 704. Moving the coil allows use of a smaller, less expensive coil, while still heating a large quantity of feedstock in one batch. The rate of movement of the coil with respect to the matrix can be varied as desired to achieve heating objectives. It can be varied dynamically depending on hot or cold spots within the retort if measurements of temperature of the feedstock, the inductive-heatable objects, or the dynamic process matrix are taken. Liquid hydrocarbons 730 may be removed from the retort through a liquid hydrocarbon removal means 706 and stored in an appropriate vessel 707. Hydrocarbon vapors 720 can be removed from the retort through a gaseous hydrocarbon removal means 706 and placed in a vessel 770 where they can condense 705. Spent feedstock 779 can be removed by an appropriate removal means 778. The process can be repeated.

[032] Figure 8 depicts another alternative embodiment of the inventions. This embodiment implements some of the inventive concepts for in situ processing of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock by use of a mobile processing system 801. In this example, a mining apparatus 802, such as a longwall mining machine, is used to access an underground deposit of a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock. The mining apparatus 802 can include means for horizontal removal of feedstock 802a (projecting edge or teeth) and means for transport 803 of feedstock such as a belt conveyor, screw conveyor, auger, or other material handling device. The means for transport can be used to transport feedstock to a mobile retort 804. The retort can have an induction coil and a conveyor 899 for moving material through the coil. After processing, spent feedstock 805 may be transported away from the retort 804 and used to backfill 806 the underground room from which feedstock was removed for processing. Liquid hydrocarbon products 880 and hydrocarbon vapors 879 can be collected for further processing or sale.

[033] Referring to Figure 9, greater detail about the retort 804 of Figure 8 is provided. In this example, a horizontally-oriented retort 804 is utilized, although other retort configurations are possible within the inventive concept. A material input means 803 such as a conveyor moves recently- mined hydrocarbon-containing feedstock to the front of the retort. An induction-heatable objects recirculating means 902 such as an elevator, auger, conveyor, etc. or a combination of them 902 of them brings induction- heatable objects 903 to a location where feedstock and induction-heatable objects are mixed for form a dynamic process matrix 904. The dynamic process matrix 904 enters the induction heater 905 of the retort 804. The matrix 904 can be moved through the retort by a transportation means 910. The induction heater can include an electromagnet or a coil 988 which causes the induction-heatable objects to increase in temperature by exposing them to a rapidly-changing magnetic field. Heat is transferred from the hot induction-heatable objects to the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock within the retort. Heated feedstock releases both liquid hydrocarbon products 907 and hydrocarbon vapors 906 which may be .recovered.

[034] The dynamic process matrix post-retort 920 may be exposed to magnetic separators 930a and 930b which remove the induction-heatable objects from the dynamic process matrix post-retort 920 for re-use. Another transport means 940 may be used to recirculate the recovered induction- heatable objects 950. Additional amounts of liquid oil 907 may be recovered by a second liquid oil recovery means 980. Spent feedstock 999 is transported by a conveyor or other means 998 to a backfill area. Also, hydrocarbon vapors 906 are collected by a collection means 997 for further processing, use or sale.

[035] When the inventions are utilized, the induction-heatable objects are heated by exposing them to a rapidly-changing magnetic field, such as that produced by a coil or electromagnet. The rapidly-changing magnetic field induces eddy currents in any conductive and resistive object that is located within the magnetic field, such as within the interior of an induction coil. Because eddy currents are induced by a magnetic field, physical contact between the coil or electromagnet and induction-heatable objects is neither necessary nor desired. Eddy currents (also called Foucault currents) generated in the conductive and resistive object located within a rapidly- changing magnetic field lead to Joule heating (also called Ohmic heating or resistive heating) of the object. Electrical resistance within the conductive and resistive object opposes the flow of current through the object, creating heat. Thus non-contact heating at a distance of the induction-heatable objects in a dynamic process matrix can be achieved. If the conductive object offers no resistance or little resistance to current flow, then resistive or Ohmic heating will not occur or will have such a small effect that the object in question would not be suitable for use in the inventions.

[036] Eddy currents typically flow in thin layers near the surface of an object being heated by electromagnetic induction. Consequently, that surface experiences tremendous current flow and will heat quickly and to a high temperature. This is called "skin effect" . As most embodiments of the inventions disclosed herein are expected to involve conduction of heat from the exterior surface of a plurality of induction-heatable objects via intimate physical contact with hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in a dynamic process matrix, it is beneficial to have a hot outer surface on the hot induction-heatable objects. Having a hot interior on the induction-heatable object is likely, although not necessarily required in all applications of the inventive concepts. A hot interior in the induction-heatable objects can assist in keeping the induction-heatable objects hot over a longer period of time to completely remove hydrocarbons from a feedstock. Typically up to 85% of the heat created in an induction-heated object is created by the skin effect, so generally smaller, thinner objects are easier to heat by induction, and therefore convert a greater percentage of input energy to heat.

[037] The conductive and resistive material from which the induction- heatable objects are made may also generate heat by magnetic hysteresis if the induction-heatable objects are magnetic. Magnetic hysteresis is internal friction within the induction-heatable object due to the rapidly changing magnetic field created by an induction coil or electromagnet. The rapidly changing magnetic field forces the atomic dipoles of the material being heated to rapidly change and internal friction results. The internal friction creates heat, thus increasing temperature of the induction-heatable objects. Typically ferrous metals are subject to heating by magnetic hysteresis.

Heating by this mechanism is called "hysteretic heating" and typically secondary and a lesser contributor to temperature increase of induction- heatable objects than Ohmic or resistive heating.

[038] In an induction heating system, materials with high electrical resistance will heat more quickly than materials with less electrical resistance. An example of this is the more rapid heating of steel via induction than aluminum.

[039] Based on the foregoing, induction-heatable objects in the dynamic process matrix of the inventions should be conductive and resistive. It may be helpful for them to be magnetic as well in order to take advantage of the secondary heating effect of magnetic hysteresis.

[040] When the inventions are utilized, an induction coil or electromagnet heats the induction-heatable objects of the dynamic process matrix without being in physical contact with them. This eases material movement considerations as contact with a heating means would tend to block movement of the induction-heatable objects and hydrocarbon-containing feedstock within a matrix. Also note that using a dynamic process matrix in which both the induction-heatable objects and the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock move with respect to each other, as opposed to a stationary heater, also eases material flow considerations.

[041] Examples of electrically conductive materials that can be induction- heated for use in the invented processes, equipment and systems include iron, steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, gold, silver, platinum,, tungsten, zinc, nickel, lithium, tin, lead, titanium, carbon, carbon graphite, graphene, calcium, lithium, tin, steel, carbon steel, electrical steel, lead, manganin, constantan, stainless steel, mercury, nichrome, brass, bronze, electro-ceramics, conductive liquids, conductive gases, plasmas, alloys, combinations and mixtures thereof and others.

[042] After the induction-heatable objects are heated by induction heating, heat transfer from the induction-heated objects to a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock within the dynamic process matrix occurs. Primarily this heat transfer occurs via conduction due to intimate physical contact between the induction-heatable objects and the hydrocarbon-containing feedstock material. Increasing the surface area of contact between the two increases the opportunity for heat transfer via conduction. In addition, some transfer of heat from the induction-heatable objects may occur due to radiant heating based on variables such as surface area, material characteristics and surface finish. Convection can also be a source of heat transfer, if hot gases are circulated by an implementation of the invented processes. Therefore although the inventions are expected to primarily transfer heat from a plurality of induction-heatable objects to feedstock particles within a dynamic process by conduction due to different feedstock particles contacting different induction-heatable objects within the matrix at different times, at least some heating of the feedstock in the matrix can also occur by either convection or radiant heating, or both.

[043] Induction-heatable objects can be of any desired size, but in many embodiments of the inventions it is expected that they will range in size from 1/8 inch to 1 inch in greatest dimension, with common examples being ¾ inch, ½ inch or ¼ inch in greatest dimension. The shape of the induction- heatable objects may be any desired shape, including but not limited to round, cubic, cylindrical, oval, multi-sided, egg-shaped, pellet-shaped, bar- shaped, rod-shaped, disc-shaped, finned, hexagonal, flat-sided ball-shaped, plate-shaped, chain-shaped, undulating, curved, and shaped with

projections.

[044] A ratio of amount of induction-heatable objects to hydrocarbon- containing feedstock in a dynamic process can be optimized for any particular implementation of the inventive concepts. Some examples of ratios of induction-heatable objects to hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in a dynamic process matrix of the invention by volume are as follow: 50:50, 75:25, 70:30, 80:20, 90:10, 10:90, 20:80, 30:70, 25:75. Examples of ratios of induction-heatable objects to hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in a dynamic process matrix of the invention by mass are as follow: 50:50, 75:25, 70:30, 80:20, 90:10, 10:90, 20:80, 30:70, and 25:75. The inventors have found excellent efficiency when oil shale and induction-heatable objects comprise 50%+ of the dynamic process matrix, by volume. Greater percentages of induction-heatable objects by volume in the dynamic process matrix are possible, such as 55%+, 60%+, 65%+, 70%+, 75%+, 80%+, 85%+, etc. Likewise, lesser percentages of induction-heatable objects by volume in the dynamic process matrix are possible, such as 45%+, 40%+, 35%+, 30%+, 25%+, 20%+, 15%+, etc.

[045] While the present invention has been described and illustrated in conjunction with a number of specific configurations, those skilled in the art will appreciate that variations may be made without departing from the principles herein illustrated and described. The present invention, as defined by the appended claims, may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The configurations described herein are to be considered in all respects as only illustrative, and not restrictive. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Claims

1. A method for removing hydrocarbons from a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock comprising the following steps:
obtaining a quantity of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock,
obtaining a plurality of induction-heatable objects that are at least 1/8 inch in greatest dimension and that are both conductive and resistive,
mixing said feedstock with said induction-heatable objects to form a dynamic process matrix,
heating said induction-heatable objects by exposing them to a rapidly- changing magnetic field, said rapidly-changing magnetic field inducing current flow in said induction-heatable objects, said current flow
experiencing electrical resistance in said induction-heatable objects, and said current flow and electrical resistance causing said induction-heatable objects to increase in temperature,
causing at least some of said heated induction-heatable objects to be in intimate physical contact with at least some of said hydrocarbon- containing feedstock in said dynamic process matrix,
causing heat to transfer from at least some of said heated induction- heatable objects to at least some of said feedstock by thermal conduction, thereby causing an increase in temperature of said at least some of said feedstock,
causing hydrocarbon release from said at least some of said feedstock due to said increase in temperature, and
capturing at least some of said released hydrocarbons.
2. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising the step of
allowing relative movement between said heated induction-heatable objects and said feedstock in said dynamic process matrix to cause different particles of feedstock in said dynamic process feedstock to be in conductive- contact with different heated induction-heatable objects at different times.
3. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least some of said
hydrocarbon release occurs within a retort.
4. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said induction- heatable objects in said matrix is ¾" or less in maximum dimension.
5. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising the step of heating at least a plurality of said induction-heatable objects by magnetic hysteresis.
6. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising the step of magnetically separating induction-heatable objects from spent feedstock.
7. A method as recited in claim 6 further comprising the step of recycling said separated induction-heatable objects for further heating of feedstock.
8. A method as recited in claim 1 further comprising the step of transporting said recycled induction-heatable objects in close proximity with feedstock to a location where said mixing step is performed in order to preheat said feedstock prior to creating said dynamic process matrix.
9. A method as recited in step 1 wherein said heating step includes moving said induction-heatable objects through a powered coil.
10. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said heating step includes moving said dynamic process matrix through a coil.
11. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said heating step includes locating said induction-heatable objects in close proximity to an
electromagnet.
12. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said heating step includes creating eddy currents in at least some of said induction-heatable objects.
13. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said heating steps includes heating the surface of at least some of said induction-heatable objects to a greater temperature than the cores of at least some of said induction- heatable objects.
14. A method as recited in claim 1 wherein said heating step includes creating eddy currents in said induction-heatable objects.
15. A method processing a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in order to receive valuable hydrocarbons from it, the method comprising:
mixing a quantity of hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and induction- heatable objects to form a dynamic process matrix,
powering a coil that induces a current in at least some of said induction-heatable objects in order to cause them to increase in temperature by Ohmic heating to become heated induction-heatable objects,
causing at least some of said induction-heatable objects in said dynamic process matrix to contact at least some feedstock in said dynamic process matrix,
transferring heat from said heated induction-heatable objects to feedstock in said dynamic process matrix by conduction during dynamic movement of feedstock and heated induction-heatable objects,
re-powering said coil in order to increase the temperature of said induction-heatable objects and process said dynamic process matrix within a desired target temperature range,
causing at least some of said feedstock in said dynamic process matrix to release hydrocarbons, and
collecting at least some of said hydrocarbons.
16. A method processing a hydrocarbon-containing feedstock in order to receive valuable hydrocarbons from it, the method comprising:
mixing hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and induction-heatable objects to form a dynamic process matrix,
creating a rapidly-changing magnetic field which induces eddy currents in at least some of said induction-heatable objects in order to cause them to heat by resistive heating,
causing at least some of said induction-heatable objects in said matrix to contact at least some feedstock in said matrix, transferring at least some heat from heated induction-heatable objects to feedstock in said matrix by thermal conduction,
causing at least some of said feedstock in said matrix to release hydrocarbons, and
collecting at least some of said hydrocarbons.
17. A method as recited in claim 16 wherein said at least some of said induction-heatable objects have an exterior geometry selected from the group consisting of round, cubic, cylindrical, oval, multi-sided, egg-shaped, pellet-shaped, bar-shaped, rod-shaped, disc-shaped, finned, hexagonal, flat- sided ball-shaped, plate-shaped, chain-shaped, undulating, curved, and shaped with projections.
18. A method as recited in claim 16 wherein at least some of said induction-heatable objects include a material that is selected from the group consisting of iron, steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, gold, silver, platinum, tungsten, zinc, nickel, lithium, tin, lead, titanium, carbon, graphite, and electro-ceramics.
19. A method as recited in claim 16 wherein said hydrocarbon-containing feedstock and said induction-heatable objects are present in said dynamic process matrix in a ratio by mass of about 25:75 to about 75:25.
20. A method for obtaining usable oil from oil shale comprising the following steps:
obtaining a quantity of oil shale,
obtaining a quantity of a material that is heatable by induction heating, mixing said oil shale with said induction-heatable material to form a matrix, placing said matrix into a retort,
heating said induction-heatable material in said retort, said heated induction- heatable material causing said oil shale to increase in temperature, permitting pyrolysis to occur, and
recovering usable oil from said oil shale as a result of said pyrolysis.
PCT/US2014/000221 2013-12-20 2014-12-17 Removal of hydrocarbons from a feedstock WO2015094384A1 (en)

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US14121525 US20160075953A1 (en) 2014-09-15 2014-09-15 Oil shale retorting
US14/121,525 2014-09-15

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US20030095034A1 (en) * 1999-09-07 2003-05-22 Clothier Brian L. Method and apparatus for magnetic induction heating using radio frequency identification of object to be heated
WO2009047485A1 (en) * 2007-10-08 2009-04-16 Rexos Limited Methods and apparatus for the recovery and processing of hydrocarbon waste
US20120090844A1 (en) * 2010-09-15 2012-04-19 Harris Corporation Simultaneous conversion and recovery of bitumen using rf
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US20130037262A1 (en) * 2011-08-12 2013-02-14 Harris Corporation Hydrocarbon resource processing device including radio frequency applicator and related methods

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20030095034A1 (en) * 1999-09-07 2003-05-22 Clothier Brian L. Method and apparatus for magnetic induction heating using radio frequency identification of object to be heated
WO2009047485A1 (en) * 2007-10-08 2009-04-16 Rexos Limited Methods and apparatus for the recovery and processing of hydrocarbon waste
US20120090844A1 (en) * 2010-09-15 2012-04-19 Harris Corporation Simultaneous conversion and recovery of bitumen using rf
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