Processibility of Athabasca tar sand using a batch extraction unit: the role of NaOH

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 803, 1979

E. C. SANFORD Senior Research Chemist, F. A. SEVER, Manager, Research Programs, Syncrude Canada Limited, Edmonton, Alberta

A laboratory-scale batch extraction unit and operating procedure for studying the hot-water separation of bitumen from Athabasca tar sands are described. The extractor evolved from earlier units and has been in use by Syncrude Research for the past 10 years. By using a unit such as this, it is possible to study tar sand feed quality and the effects of chemicals on the hot-water extraction process, while process variables are held constant. Data are presented to demonstrate the importance of surfactants to the process and the interrelated role of inorganic bases and surfactants.
Keywords: Tar sands, Athabasca tar sands, Batch extraction, Bitumen separation, Syncrude, Surfactants, Flotation, Tailings.