Energy, Vol.173, 799-808, 2019
The development of a process simulation model for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of a vapor solvent-based oil sands extraction and recovery process
The solvent extraction process (SEP) is a promising technology for bitumen production from oil sands. This paper investigates the energy requirements and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a propane based super-heated vapor solvent extraction process as an alternative to in situ techniques, steam assisted gravity drainage, and cyclic steam simulation. A vapor solvent-based extraction model of 25,000 barrels per day of bitumen was developed to evaluate energy and GHG emissions. The energy- and emissions-intensive units were identified and a sensitivity analysis was conducted to study the impact of key operating parameters on the plant's overall emissions. Uncertainty analysis was performed on the most sensitive parameters. The results show that SEP natural gas and electricity consumption are 60.5 -89.9 KJ/barrel and 19.7-19.9 kWh/barrel of bitumen, respectively. The GHG emissions range from 24.8 to 29.1 kg CO2 eq./barrel of bitumen. The demethanizer unit, responsible for more than 90% of the electrical energy, is the most GHG emissions-intensive unit. GHG emissions are mostly influenced by the solvent-to-oil ratio. On the whole, the SEP emissions footprint is promising; however, the results must be extended to upgrading and refining emissions in order to understand the full life cycle GHG emissions of the transportation fuels produced. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.