Heavy oil utilisation is set to increase over the coming decades as reserves of conventional oil decline. Heavy oil differs from conventional oil in containing relatively large quantities of asphaltene and carboxylic acids. The proportions of these compounds greatly influence how oil behaves during production and its utilisation as a fuel or feedstock. We report the development of a microfluidic technique, based on a H-cell, that can extract the carboxylic acid components of an oil and assess its asphaltene content. Ultimately this technology could yield a field-deployable device capable of performing measurements that facilitate improved resource management at the point of resource-extraction.
- crude oils
- deep subsurface