Use of CO2-triggered switchable surfactants for the stabilization of oil-in-water emulsions

Chen Liang, Jitendra Rameshlal Harjani, Tobias Robert, Estrella Rogel, Donald Leroy Kuehne, Cesar Ovalles, Vasudevan Sampath, Philip G Jessop

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90 Citations (Scopus)


Pipelining of heavy crudes can be facilitated by preparing oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions of the crude, but separation of the oil from the water after pipelining is problematic if conventional surfactants are used. Long-chain acetamidines are CO 2-triggered switchable surfactants, being surface-active when CO 2 is present but not when CO 2 is absent. Unfortunately, in the presence of CO 2, they stabilize water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions of heavy crude rather than the desired O/W emulsions. However, in the absence of added CO 2, several compounds (Na 2CO 3, three of the long-chain acetamidines, and two other amidines) stabilize O/W emulsions. These low-viscosity emulsions can later be broken by the addition of CO 2. The residual oil content in the recovered water is lowest if the compound used to stabilize the original emulsion was a long-chain acetamidine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488 - 494
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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