Naphthenic acids (NAs) are complex mixture of predominately alkyl-substituted cycloaliphatic carboxylic acids and small amount of acyclic acids present in crude oil, heavy oil and in oil sands bitumen. They are toxic components in refinery wastewater and in oil sand extraction water and lead to corrosion problems within the oil refineries. Therefore, the amount of NAs needs to suppress in petroleum oils and wastewater came from petroleum industry. This paper reviews the supercritical fluids (SCFs)- and ionic liquids (ILs)-based acidity reduction process from heavy oils by reviewing open literature. The potential benefits of SCFs- and ILs-based acidity reduction process of heavy oils are also explored. The reviewed articles reveal that total acid number (TAN) removal increase with increasing reaction time and temperature by the action of SCF. Supercritical methanol (SC-MeOH) has higher potentiality for removing acidity of NAs than supercritical water (SCW) without deposition of coke. TAN removal from NAs using SCF follows first order kinetics on TAN removal. ILs can reduce acidity of heavy oil either forming zwitterionic species or building cage structure around NAs through specific chemical bonds. Thus, non-catalytic SCF- and ILs-based TAN reduction process can open a new window to reduce acidity of heavy oils.
Part of the book: Recent Insights in Petroleum Science and Engineering