Hydrogen peroxide capacitor process for the recovery of hydrocarbons
Kind Code:

The method relates generally to an improved method for the recovery of hydro-carbons from bitumen/oil deposits such as oil sands, tar sands, oil shales and conventional oil deposits. The method charges the silicon particles thus repulsing the oil, at the same time the hydrogen peroxide selectively reacts with metals, metal compounds and the charged silicon particles giving off energy and oxygen which then floats the oil to the surface, By reacting with the organo-metallic compounds it destroys them, thus freeing the oil from transition metals and producing a much cleaner product.

Pearce, David (Nelson, CA)
Pearce, Michael Dana (Nelson, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:

Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael Pearce (Nelson, BC, CA)
We claim

1. A method for extracting bitumen/oil from tar sands, oil shales and conventional oil fields, the method comprising: a) Immersing the bitumen/oil deposit material in heated solution comprising water and a selected amount of hydrogen peroxide; b) applying a high voltage direct current to the carbon electrodes until all the oil has floated to the surface; c) skimming off the oil; and d) decanting the solution and collecting the cleaned sand.

2. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the solution selectively reacts with organo-metallic compounds and decomposes them

3. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the solution selectively reacts with the charged silicon particles giving off oxygen which helps separate and float the oil.

4. The method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the solution selectively reacts with metal ions giving off oxygen which helps separate the oil, sand and colloids from one another and causing the oil to float to the surface of the solution.



This invention relates generally to a method of separating hydrocarbons from another material and in particular to a process for recovering hydrocarbons from oil type deposits, such as bitumen/oil sands, oil shales, and conventional oil deposits.


The physical separation of oil, bitumen and kerogen, from sand or rock has been an ongoing problem with all the deposits throughout the world. Current methods are usually pyrolysis, hot water and sodium hydroxide, or dilution with solvents such as xylene or toluene. All of these processes have trouble dealing with the heavy fraction of the oil which contains the asphaltenes, as well, the colloids and new compounds formed make the remediation and disposal of their tailings very expensive. Also by the very nature of current practices there are exceedingly significant losses in product such that only with extremely high capital investments in order to achieve economies of size or by high crude prices can the operations be made economically viable.

At present at Fort McMurray, in the Athabasca tar sands, there are huge inventories of byproducts formed, such as oil coke and gypsum (NaS04), which are too large for the available market. Other ongoing problems are the high use of both water and propane to the point that the provincial government is considering restrictions on their use.


It is the object of the invention to provide an improved process for the separation and extraction of bitumen and oil from the tar sands such that there remains little, or no, metals, sand and coloids in the bitumen and very little, or no, oil in the sand tailings.

It is also an object of the invention to have a very high through-put and yet take up minimal space so that capital costs and ongoing costs may be substantially reduced.

It is another object of the invention to provide very much improved recycling of the water used so that both heat and water can be conserved.

It is another object of the invention that as the process is exothermic it will provide heat with the consequent reduction in the use of propane or other-heating sources.

It is an object of the invention that organo-metals are freed from the hydrocarbon matrix.

It is an object of the invention that because of the simplicity of the reaction and reagent used there will be very few, if any, by-products.

The process comprises the following steps:

    • a) immersing the oil type deposit material in a heated solution comprising of water and hydrogen peroxide;
    • b) utilizing two large area electrodes to apply a high voltage direct current to the solution until all the oil has floated to the surface. Assistance by an agitation source may, at times be required;
    • c) skimming off the liquid hydrocarbons and placing it in a suitable container;
    • d) decanting the solution through a filter and then precipitating unwanted residues;
    • e) storing the solution for further recycling use; and
    • f) sending the cleaned sand to a tailings disposal site.


FIG. 1 is a schematic cut-away view of the reaction chamber for the electrochemical capacitor separation of the oil and sand.


The composition of the Athabasca Tar Sands is such that the individual grains of silica (sand) are surrounded by a thin layer of nascent water containing ionic calcium.

According to one embodiment of the invention an electrochemical process is provided for separating oil or bitumen from sand or rock leaving clean sand and colloids and clean oil/bitumen. The process utilizes a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water held between two large carbon electrodes. A 100 volt DC current is then applied to the two electrodes. At this time it will be noted that the ammeter shows a current draw of one to two amps. The bitumen sand can be placed anywhere in the container between the two electrodes, but to facilitate the reaction it is placed on a fine plastic screen such that as the sand is released from the oil it automatically falls away from the tar sand and because of entrained gases the liquid hydrocarbons will then automatically float to the surface.

The process utilizes wide, large area electrodes and a high voltage in order to carry a heavy charge on each plate creating an electromagnetic field within the container. The heavily charged plates induce a charge both on the silica particles and within the conductive nascent water that remains balanced as long as the water temperature remains below a critical temperature of seventy degrees Celsius. The sand acts as a dielectric separating the two solutions.

The combination of exothermic heat from the oxidation reaction of hydrogen peroxide and metals within the asphaltenes and added “make-up” heat bring the solution above seventy degrees Celsius at which point the silica loses its diamagnetism and ability to hold a charge. This in turn causes an imbalanced capacitance at the granular level between the nascent water and the solution in the container. The sand reports to the bottom of the container in conjunction with the nascent water pushing the bitumen away from the now neutral silica to meet its opposite charge in the tank solution.

The now floated oil is then cleaned further by allowing it and the sand under flow to proceed with the solution to a shallower tank with much greater surface area. With the temperature still held above seventy degrees Celsius, the bitumen/oil spreads thinly across the greater surface area, continuing to drop sand and colloids until both the sand and oil are clean or the hydrogen peroxide is used up. The reaction will continue to work until either the sand and oil are both clean or the hydrogen peroxide is used up. The sand is either treated further for metals or simply sent to the tailings disposal site.

The solution is decanted through a filter and any metal salts or hydrocarbons left in solution are separated out and the water is reused.

This method comprises the following steps;

    • immersing oil sand in a solution containing 35% hydrogen peroxide and water anywhere between the electrodes
    • heating the solution to 70 degrees Celsius
    • applying a high voltage DC current to the electrodes until oil begins to float to the surface
    • introduce agitation to the bitumen sands
    • discontinue the current when the oil stops coming to the surface
    • skimming the oil off the surface of the solution and placing it in a container with a much larger surface area containing a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water and allowing any reaction to finish
    • decant the original solution through a filter paper (or equivalent), precipitate out any unwanted compounds or metals and store for reuse
    • send the sand tailings to the tailings disposal site or treat further for any values

With reference to FIG. 1, the following reference numbers denote the following:

    • 5 plastic reaction vessel
    • 9 suspended plastic screen
    • 10 thin layer of cleaned hydrocarbons
    • 11 cleaned sand and colloids
    • 12 large area carbon electrodes
    • 13 tar/oil sand
    • 14 direct current power source
    • 15 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water

Referring to FIG. 1, experimental testing was carried out as follows in a plastic container 5. Plastic is preferred as it is inexpensive, durable and is nonreactive to the reagents. Flat carbon electrodes four inches wide by twelve inches long were mounted on opposite sides of the inside of the container and were electrically connected to a 100 volt DC source. 200 grams of bitumen/oil sand was suspended on a fine plastic screen and the level of hydrogen peroxide-water solution was brought up to a level at least two inches above the screen so that the tar sand was completely immersed by the solution. The current was turned on and after three minutes oil began coming to the surface and within another three minutes the 200 grams of tar sand was completely separated with all the sand on the bottom and all the oil/tar floating on the top. When further oil sand was added it was cleaned in less than two minutes.

The floating oil was then skimmed off and placed on a much larger area of solution in an eight inch by twelve inch by three inch deep pan filled with hydrogen peroxide—water solution where the froth continued to react, dropping sand and fine clay until all of the oil was clean or the peroxide was used up.

The solution is ph neutral so the very fine material, clays and colloids, precipitate out of the solution in one to two hours and within eight hours, formed a reasonably coherent layer on the bottom of the container so that the solution can be decanted easily. When the sand was collected from the container after the solution had been decanted it dried to a very light colour showing very little physical indications of residual oil.