Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.82, No.4, 782-793, 2004
A two level fractional factorial design to test the effect of oil sands composition and process water chemistry on bitumen recovery from model systems
To overcome the compositional variability inherent to natural oil sands we use extraction tests with model oil sands (MOS) systems in a systematic, experimental design study. Eight significant variables from screening tests in earlier work are tested here. Namely, concentrations of bitumen, silica fines, sodium kaolinite, illite and montmorillonite. In addition, we tested different concentrations of Ca2+, Mg2+, and Na+ in the synthetic process water used with bitumen separation tests. A two level, fractional factorial experimental design allowed testing of the selected variables using only 16 runs. In addition, sodium hydroxide was added as a ninth variable and four repeat tests allowed evaluation of precision. The resulting bitumen recovery model explained 94% of the data variation. The associated parameter estimates were in general agreement with previous experimental observations and with actual operational experience.