The ‘TROVE’ model must accommodate heat and mass transfer processes specific to each geological setting, while accounting for such variables as oil saturation, porosity and permeability.
A dependable model requires real ﬁeld history data. Thus the simulation work now underway is taking full advantage of published case studies, to ‘ground truth’ the outputs. As the simulations continue through 2017, the model will benefit from a wealth of new field data.
Once developed, the simulation model will be converted into a software tool that can be applied to each field site, and used to predict the outcome, identify opportunities and ﬁne tune the engineering. Obviously it is a tremendous benefit in both time and money for companies to use the TROVE software for evaluating different configurations, and optimizing design.
The membrane must be incased in a robust cartridge, designed to allow commercial production of hydrogen in a high pressure, high temperature environment. Commercial production of Hygenerators will be a critical part of operationalising HEE technology.
The tubular shape of exchange membranes makes them well-suited to deployment within a wellbore.
In theory, it should be possible to insert a membrane, and then retrieve it for maintenance or for re-deployment to new wells and new locations. However application within a wellbore is untried, and raises a series of research questions.
Dogleg Severity: it is likely that HEE will require the capacity to insert a Hygenerator into a dogleg well. The dogleg allows the production well to move laterally along a single reservoir horizon. The challenge is to design the Hygenerator to safely pass the dogleg without deformation of the membrane alloy. The solution may be a stronger alloy around the membrane, or some other technique adapted from the long history of industry experience with lateral drilling.
Metallurgy: the metallurgy of the Hygenerator needs to be optimised for longevity and safety. Promising metallurgy will be tested in laboratory. Solutions will be adapted from similar temperature and pressure environments in steam methane reformation, and prior experience with gasification facilities in Alberta and Asia.
Thermal Expansion: the challenge is how to connect the membrane to more traditional alloys down-hole, taking into account their differential thermal expansion coefficients, so as to prevent leaking of syngas into the membrane.
Physical Damage: the challenge is to protect the Hygenerator from abrasion as it move down-hole. A trade-off may be required between durability and cost, since membranes are costly. A solution may be to wrap the wrap the membrane in a steel alloy.
Surface Area: the challenge is to maximize the surface area, without impairing the complexity and functionality. The membrane operates through diffusion, and flux or productivity is directly related to the area exposed. The solution may be to increase the length of membrane deployed, or use a daisy chain.
Multiple injection wells can be used in sequence. The wells can included verticals and laterals with perforations.
The ISC can be augmented through a combination of targeted electric magnetic preheating and controlled injection of oxygen-enriched air. Options may be considered for cycling of the oxygen, and for adding water and other elements to control the production rates.
Sensors and controls may assist in preserving the integrity of the wells and the Hygenerators, and protecting the health and safety of operators.
A particularly interesting part of the technology is the process for creating oxygen-enhaved air on-site. Similar to the other components of the Troves, we will begin by adapting pumps and filtering systems already in use for other purposes.
Proton’s Trove Operations Team is working to bring all these elements together as part of the first commercial pilot, 2017.
In order to optimize the design at this stage, the pilot will need extra equipment and the capacity to adapt to different operating modes.
The pilot will serve to generate revenue and prove the value of the technology. It will also serve as a research and training facility.
Participation in the RCE is managed through formal partnerships, ad hoc collaborations, financial support and special events.
All sectors are participating in the RCE.
Phase 1 (completed in 2016) Proof of Concept, including numerical simulations, design specifications, lab test protocols, construction of prototypes, identification of field sites and a plan for product testing (FEED).
Phase 2 (2017) Reservoir deployment, including field trials in diverse reservoir types, and a combined commercial pilot, demonstration, research, and training facility.
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P.R. Kapadia, J. Wang, M.S. Kallos, I.D. Gates, Practical process design for in situ gasification of bitumen, Applied Energy 107 (July 2013) 281–296.
P.R. Kapadia, M.S. Kallos, I.D. Gates, A new kinetic model for pyrolysis of Athabasca bitumen, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 91 (May 2013) 889–901.
P.R. Kapadia, M.S. Kallos, I.D. Gates, A new reaction model for aquathermolysis of Athabasca bitumen The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 91 (March 2013) 475–482.
P.R. Kapadia, J. Wang, M.S. Kallos, I.D. Gates, New thermal-reactive reservoir engineering model predicts hydrogen sulfide generation in steam assisted gravity drainage, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 94–95 (September 2012) 100–111.
P.R. Kapadia, M.S. Kallos, I.D. Gates, A review of pyrolysis, aquathermolysis and oxidation of Athabasca Bitumen, Fuel Processing Technology 90 (2015) 270-289.
In-Situ Combustion Handbook – Principles and Practices (Sarathi, US DOE, 1999)
Hydrogen generation during in-situ combustion (Hajdo, Hallam, Vorndran, 1985)
Hydrogen permeance of palladium-copper alloy membranes over a wide range of temperatures and pressures (Howard, Killmeyer, Rothenberger, Cugini, Morreale, Enick, Bustamante, 2004)
Effects of co-existing hydrocarbons on hydrogen permeation through a palladium membrane (Jung, Kusakabe, Morooka, Kim, 1999)