Letter | Published:

Oil-shale kerogen: low temperature degradation in molten salts

Nature volume 274, pages 578580 (10 August 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

GREEN RIVER oil shale has been found to be converted to soluble products by the action of a sodium tetrachloroaluminate melt1. The function of the tetrachloroaluminate melt has been shown experimentally to include chemical effects in addition to its role as a thermal transfer agent. The results described here when compared to a conventional retorting process or a shift reaction2, are distinctly different, implying that the reaction could be thermally dependent, but results indicate the process involved is not a pyrolysis. Model studies have demonstrated that aromatic moieties are relatively inert to the solvent system described; however, aliphatic materials containing carbon in other than sp3 hybridisation are especially reactive. The mechanism of degradation seems to involve a mode of intramolecular disproportion catalysed by the tetrachloroaluminate melt's ability to stabilise the resulting shortlived intermediates until the macromolecules involved have been sufficiently reduced in size to become soluble in conventional solvents.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523

    • R. C. BUGLE
    • , K. WILSON
    • , G. OLSEN
    • , L. G. WADE JR
    •  & R. A. OSTERYOUNG

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274578a0

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