Microtech 2011

The Separation of Hydrocarbons from Sand Using Ionic Liquids

P. Painter, B. Miller, A. Lupinsky, P. Williams
Penn State University, US

Keywords: oil sands, oil contaminated sand, ionic liquids


The problem that this work addresses involves the separation of oil, bitumen or tar from sand or other types of mineral matter. The processes presently used to separate or extract hydrocarbons from sand are expensive, use a lot of energy and result in environmental problems associated with the disposal of waste products and contaminated water. A new technology has been developed at Penn State based on the use of ionic liquids (ILs). The use of certain ILs results in a very clean separation at ambient temperatures without the generation of waste process water, thus achieving large energy savings and alleviating major environmental problems.

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