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Pure Appl. Chem., 2001, Vol. 73, No. 1, pp. 153-159

Using neoteric solvents in oil shale studies

M. Koel1*, S. Ljovin1, K. Hollis2 and J. Rubin2

1 Institute of Chemistry, Akadeemia tee 15, Tallinn 12618, Estonia
2 Los Alamos National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

Abstract: The liquefaction, gasification, and other chemical modifications of oil shale are challenging goals of chemistry and chemical engineering. The use of new solvent systems, such as supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, represents new avenues in the search of environmentally benign technologies. Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) with carbon dioxide is particularly effective for the isolation of substances of medium molecular weight and relatively low polarity. At elevated temperatures it is possible to unite the breaking chemical bonds in the kerogen organic matter and convert the former into oil with extraction using supercritical fluids. Quantitative and qualitative information obtained at different temperatures during SFE is providing some insight into the speciation of hydrocarbons in geological samples. Ionic liquids were studied as potential solvents for kerogen extraction. However, these chemical processes are favored at elevated temperatures up to the thermal degradation temperature of kerogen, 400 C. There were observed significant differences in the chemical composition of extracted oil and from the oil from the classical semicoking process of oil shale. An additional application would be a combination of the two methodsthe use of supercritical carbon dioxide to recover nonvolatile organic compounds from room-temperature ionic liquid without using organic solvents.