Commercially Proven Clean Innovation
Well’s commitment to petroleum sector innovation has led to significant discoveries that change the landscape of the petroleum value chain. These recent discoveries allow for the utilization of petroleum asphaltenes for non-combustion applications, which have major cross-sector opportunities in addressing environmental issues such as water and soil contamination.
The breakthroughs are based on understanding the properties of solid, dry, granular asphaltenes, which are uniquely produced from Well’s commercial SELEX-Asp process. Granular asphaltenes are easy to handle and transport, are an effective adsorption material and method for treating pollutants, and can also be used as feedstock for producing various carbon materials.
Effective Resource Utilization
Traditional low-value petroleum residue by-products are turned into environmentally friendly and high value-added materials, which can dually serve as carbon capture mediums for the energy sector.
Water Treatment & Soil Remediation
The use of asphaltenes in the treatment or mitigation of environmental damage caused by contaminants in water and soil is more cost-effective and efficient than traditional methods.
Existing strategies used to address water contaminants (such as sewage, chemicals, and dissolved organic substances) are either costly to implement or have drawbacks that result in further environmental damage. Traditional soil remediation strategies used to treat residual farm chemicals (such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers) are costly and energy intensive to implement; consequently, most contaminated agricultural lands remain untreated.
Low cost of production
Produced in large quantities
No biological health risk
Soil matrix compatibility
Adsorbent for dissolved organic contaminants
Before Asphaltene Treatment
Asphaltene Utilization Methods
Substitute for activated carbon filter material
Direct contact with contaminated material to adsorb pollutants
Combine with microorganisms for enhanced bioremediation
Planting soil matrix additive
After Asphaltene Treatment
Commercial Project Partners
Asphaltenes can be used as feedstock for producing various carbon materials, such as fibers, mats, and fillers. The applications for processed asphaltenes can vary from packing materials, to construction materials, to containing-materials that doubly exhibit decontamination effects.
About Petroleum Asphaltenes
Asphaltenes are naturally occurring, non-soluble hydrocarbons comprised of 85-87% carbon, and are found in increasing amounts in heavy and ultra-heavy crudes. It is not economically viable to convert asphaltenes into clean transportation fuels.
Hydrogen addition and carbon rejection are the common methodologies used by refiners to manage asphaltenes. Hydrogen addition technologies transform a fraction of asphaltenes into smaller and more manageable molecules, but such processes are expensive and highly energy intensive. Carbon rejection entails removal of heavy petroleum sub-fractions, and can include asphaltene removal by thermal separation into petroleum coke.
Petroleum coke may be used as a solid fuel substitute for power generation; some are stockpiled or disposed of at a cost to a refiner. Conventional solvent-based or slurry phase separation processes produce asphaltene-rich semi-liquid or pitch by-products that require secondary treatment or specialized disposal.