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July 11, 2010

China has a Catalyst to Convert Shale Oil Directly into Transportation Fuel

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Greencarcongress.com - China has identified a catalyst—NiMoW—for the hydrotreating of the diesel distillate fraction from Fushun shale oil to produce a product that can be directly used as a transportation fuel.

In China, reserves of oil shales account for about 500,000 billion tons. It is distributed mainly in Fushun, Liaoning province, Huadian, Jilin province, and Maoming, Guangdong province... However, the shale oils produced from oil shales contain a considerable amount of heteroatomic compounds, especially unsaturated hydrocarbons, which may cause many troubles, such as, instability of fuel during its transportation or storage...Catalytic hydrotreating may be considered as the only convenient way to remove heteroatomic compounds from shale oil. However, many papers showed that severe process conditions were needed during catalytic hydrotreating of shale oils. The concentrations of heteroatomic compounds in shale oils could be reduced, but they were still too high to be used as a transportation fuel. Denitrogenation was more difficult than desulfurization for shale oils.


That quote from the article is probably some kind of typo (500,000 billion= tons ?). It is difficult to nail down a clear estimate of the oil shale in China. One issue is the huge difference between proven reserves or economically developable at the time. Below are some other estimates.

Wikipedia lists China's oil shale at 32 billion tons.

There was an estimate of 3.3 trillion barrels of oil shale in world. 2.6 trillions barrels oil shale in the USA.

World Energy Council - Between 2004 and 2006 China undertook its first national oil shale evaluation, which confirmed that the resource was both widespread and vast.

According to the evaluation, it has been estimated that a total oil shale resource of some 720 billion tonnes is located across 22 provinces, 47 basins and 80 deposits
.

Energy & Fuels Journal - Catalytic Hydrotreating of the Diesel Distillate from Fushun Shale Oil for the Production of Clean Fuel


Because of high contents of nitrogen, sulfur, and unsaturated hydrocarbons in shale oil, its potential use as a substitute fuel is limited. In this paper, catalytic hydrotreating of the diesel fraction (200−360 °C) from Fushun shale oil was preliminarily investigated in a fixed-bed reactor. Hydrotreating experiments were carried out using various available commercial catalysts, including CoMo/Al2O3, NiW/Al2O3, and NiMoW/Al2O3, at different conditions of temperature, hydrogen pressure, liquid hourly space velocity (LHSV), and ratio of hydrogen/feedstock. The results showed that the NiMoW catalyst was most active for heteroatom removal, in comparison to other catalysts. Under relative mild conditions, it was possible to produce clean diesel from a Fushun shale oil distillate. The produced oil had low contents of sulfur, nitrogen, and alkene, reduced density, and increased cetane number, and it could be used as a more valuable fuel.


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