Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2776389 Summary

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(12) Patent Application: (11) CA 2776389
(54) English Title: NON-DIRECT CONTACT STEAM GENERATION
(54) French Title: SYSTEME DE GENERATION DE VAPEUR A CONTACT INDIRECT
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • E21B 43/40 (2006.01)
  • C10G 1/04 (2006.01)
  • E21B 43/24 (2006.01)
  • E21B 43/34 (2006.01)
  • F22B 1/12 (2006.01)
  • F22B 5/00 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • BETZER, MAOZ (Canada)
(73) Owners :
  • BETZER, MAOZ (Canada)
(71) Applicants :
  • BETZER, MAOZ (Canada)
(74) Agent: NA
(74) Associate agent: NA
(45) Issued:
(22) Filed Date: 2012-05-07
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2012-11-06
Examination requested: 2017-05-03
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
2,739,541 Canada 2011-05-06

English Abstract





The present invention is a system and method for steam production for oil
production. The method
includes generating hot driving fluid, indirectly using the hot driving fluid
to heat water containing solids
and organics, separating solids, and using the steam for generating hot
process water or for
underground injection. The system includes a non- direct contact heat
exchanger connected to a
separator for collecting and separating the solids from the gas. The water
feed of the present invention
can be water separated from produced oil and/or low quality water salvaged
from industrial plants, such
as refineries and tailings from an oilsands mine.

Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.




CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A method for oil extraction, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) generating a hot driving fluid through indirect heat exchange;
(b) indirectly heating liquid water having solids and organics contaminates,
like oilsands fine
tailings, brine or brackish water, so as to transfer said liquid water from a
liquid phase to a gas phase;
(c) removing solids from said gas phase to produce a solids free steam;
(d) condensing the steam to heat oilsands process water;
(e) mixing the heated process water with oilsands ore to generate a slurry;
and
(f) recycling the driving steam back to the step of generating hot driving
fluid through indirect
heatexchange.

2. A system for producing steam for extraction of heavy bitumen, the system
comprising:
a boiler mixing fuel with oxidation gases and therein forming a mixture,
combusting the mixture,
and recovering combustion heat to generate steam;
a longitude steam generator means comprised of an enclosure with an internal
rotating element
capable of moving slurry and solids to a discharge outlet, wherein the
longitude enclosure is externally
heated with steam generated at said boiler. The enclosure further includes an
inlet means to feed solids
rich water, like Oilsands Mature Fine Tailings, at one end of the longitude
enclosure and an outlet means
at the other end for discharging solids and steam, where the rotating element
is located between the
feed and the discharge ends;
a steam and solids separator with a solids discharge outlet and a steam
discharge outlet in fluid
connection to said longitude steam generator; and
a heat exchanger in fluid connection to said separator, heating process water
to generate
hot process water and steam condensate.
3. A method for recovering solvents and generating hot process water from
oilsands tailings containing
the following steps:
(a) separating bitumen from sand using a water and solvent mixture thereby
generating solvent
rich water tailings;
(b) indirectly heating the solvent rich water tailings to evaporate a portion
of the solvents from
the water phase.
(c) directly heating said tailings after a portion of the solvents were
removed to combust any
solvent remains and evaporate the liquid water within the tailings;
(d) using the combustion gas and steam as the heat source to indirectly heat
said solvent rich
tailings.
(e) mixing said dry solids from the direct contact combustion heater with
water based tailings
and air to use the hot solids heat to evaporate additional water




4. A method for oil extraction, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) recovering oil, water, steam, and other contaminates from production
wells;
(b) separating the products to oil rich flow and water rich flow, said water
rich flow containing
hydrocarbon solvents and solid contaminates;
(C) indirectly heating said water rich flow, so as to transfer a portion of
the liquid water and
solvent to gas phase;
(d) separating the gas phase that includes steam and hydrocarbon solvents from
the liquid
phase;
(e) removing solids from said gas phase to produce a solids free steam; and
(f) injecting said solids free steam into an underground formation.

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

Non-Direct Contact Steam Generation
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[01] This application relates to a system and method for producing steam from
contaminated water feed to recover oil. This invention further relates to
processes and systems for
indirectly using hot fluid heat energy for generating additional steam from
contaminated water, and
using this produced steam for various applications in the oil industry, and
possibly in other industries.
The produced steam can be used to generate hot process water in the mining
oilsands industry. It can
also be used for underground injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery. The drive
hot fluid, like steam, is
generated using a commercially available, non-direct heater, steam boiler, co-
gen, OTSG, or any other
standard heater or steam generation system. Contaminates, like suspended or
dissolved solids within
the low quality water feed, can be removed in a stable solid (Zero Liquid
Discharge) system.
[02] This application presents a system and method for generating steam at a
controllable pressure
with solids waste removal. The current application is using a non-direct heat
transfer to the contaminate
water (like fine tailings). This is done indirectly, through a metal wall that
is heated with a heating fluid
(preferably steam, however thermal oil or combustion gas can be used as well).
The current application
also describes a system to indirectly generate the steam from the contaminate
water by transferring the
water within the tailings into steam, using the heat and the water with in the
steam to generate hot
water, and using the hot water for oilsands extraction. The ability to use the
driving hot fluid, such as
steam, indirectly through a heat exchanger is a significant advantage as the
heating steam can be
recycled back as the heating fluid in a closed system. The heating fluid can
be any type of fluid capable
of transferring thermal heat energy as there is no mixture between the thermal
driving fluid and the
tailings. The focus of the current invention is on the use of FT (Fine
Tailings) or MFT (Mature Fine
Tailings) from an open mine oilsands extraction facility to generate hot
process water and solid waste.
However, it can be applied to other processes as well, for example, the use of
water treatment sludge
waste from water softening facilities, or other wet streams with large solid
contamination content. The
driving steam is generated by a commercially available, non-direct steam
generation facility. The driving
steam is indirectly used to transfer liquid water into steam and solid waste.
The current invention also
suggests a system and apparatus to generate the steam and solids from the
contaminate tailings. The
system includes a longitude heated enclosure with a mechanical means to
transfer the generated solids
and slurry within the enclosure, and to prevent solids build-up and subsequent
fouling within the
enclosure. The system can further include a collector to collect and separate
the produced steam and
solids, possibly from plurality of longitude steam generated enclosures
connected to a common
separator.
[03] The steam can be generated by a standard, commercially available
industrial (package)
boiler or can be provided directly from a power station. The most suitable
steam will be a medium
pressure steam, as would be typically used for heating purposes. A cost
efficient, hence effective,
system would be to employ a high pressure steam turbine to generate
electricity. The discharge steam
from the turbine, at a lower pressure, can be effective as a driving heating
steam. Due to the fact that


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

the first stage turbine, which is the smallest size turbine, produces most of
the power (due to a higher
pressure), the cost per Megawatt of the steam turbine will be relatively low.
The efficiency of the system
will not be affected as the discharged steam will be used to drive the water
out from the fine tailings, or
other sludge, through a heat exchanger with means to mobilize the solids, as
described in this
application.
[04] During the generation of steam from a highly contaminated liquid feed,
like tailings, the
mechanical property of the liquid feed changes with the heat transfer and the
conversion of the water
into vapor, increasing the solid content (like the clay and sand when FT or
MFT is used) to produce a
solid waste that can be easily disposed of and that can support traffic. The
vapor water and heat is used
to generate the extraction hot water. In this process, the MFT properties are
changing from a liquid
phase to a thick paste phase and eventually to stable solids. This phase
change, the changing heat
transfer coefficient through the metal wall combined with the presence of clay
and abrasive sand and oil
contaminates make the final stage of the non-direct contact heat transfer very
challenging. This
invention will also suggest a system to introduce mechanical energy to the
heat transfer volume while
allowing an effective heat transfer area and an effective system arrangement,
including an effective
arrangement for combining such units into a single, maintainable system. The
system includes the
collection of the steam generators discharge and the solids separation from
the steam.
[05] The driving steam is generated in a Non-Direct Steam Generator (like a
steam boiler with a
steam drum and a mud drum), or "Once-Through Steam Generator" (OTSG) COGEN
that uses the heat
from a gas turbine to generate steam, or any other available design. The heat
transfer and combustion
gases are not mixed and the heat transfer is done through a wall (typically a
metal wall), where the
pressure of the generated steam is higher than the pressure of the combustion.
This allows for the use
of atmospheric combustion pressure. The product is pure steam (or a steam and
water mixture, as in
the case of the OTSG) without combustion gases.
[06] There are several applicable patents and disclosures issued in the field
of the present
invention. US patent No. 7,591,309 issued to Minnich et al. on September 22,
2009 describes the use of
steam for operating a pressurized evaporation facility where the pressurized
vapor steam is injected into
an underground formation for EOR. The steam heats the brine water which is
boiled to generate
additional steam. To prevent the generation of solids in the pressurized
evaporator, the internal
surfaces are kept wet by liquid water and the water is pre-treated to prevent
solid build up. The
concentrated brine is discharged for disposal or for further treatment in a
separate crystallizing facility
to achieve a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) system.
[07] Canadian patent application 2,677,479 by Spiers et al describes a drying
process for
tailings. The tailings are dried in a dryer where the tailings water is
converted to steam. The generated
steam is condensed and its heat is used to pre-heat the tailings. Make-up
Steam is also used to dry the
tailings. The liquid water extracted from the tailings is used in the
extraction facility.
[08] This invention's method and system for indirectly generating steam from
fine tailings for
extraction of heavy bitumen includes the steps as described in the patent
figures and their descriptions.
[09] The advantages and objectives of the present invention are described in
the patent
application and in the attached figures and their descriptions.
[10] These and other objectives and advantages of the present invention will
become apparent
from a reading of the attached specifications and appended claims.


CA 02776389 2012-05-07
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[11] The method and system of the present invention is for steam production
for extraction of heavy
bitumen by using fine tailings in a non-direct steam generation process. The
produced water vapor is
further used as part of an above ground oil extraction facility or for an
underground formation. The
method includes the following steps: (1) Generating hot fluid stream, like a
steam stream; (2) Using the
heat to indirectly evaporate liquid water with significant levels of solids,
oil contamination and other
contaminates (like tailings) without mixing the steam gas with the liquid
water; (3) Indirectly
converting the liquid phase water into gas phase steam and solids
contaminates; (4) Removing the solid
contaminates that were supplied with the water for disposal or further
treatment; (6) Using the
generated steam for directly or indirectly heating process water for an above
ground oilsands mine or
using the produced steam for injection into an underground oil formation
through a SAGD or CSS
steam injection well.
[12] In another embodiment, the invention can include a non-direct contact
steam generation
system from fine tailings comprising: (1) a longitude enclosure with heated
wall; (2) The heated wall is
heated with the use of steam with steam supply line and condensate recovery
line. (3) The enclosure
length is at least twice longer than its diameter; (4) The enclosure includes
mechanical moving internals,
preferably longitude rotating internals, capable of mobilizing solids from
heat transfer areas and
mobilizing solids through the enclosure to the discharge.
[13] In another embodiment, the enclosure is connected to a separation unit,
capable of separating
the generated steam from the solids, where the separation unit includes any
commercially available
separation unit, like a cyclone, centrifugal, mesh, electrostatic, or
combinations of different units.

[14] In another embodiment, several enclosures are connected to a common
collector unit that
separates the solids and slurry from the gas phase. Several efficient
horizontal and vertical
arrangements are disclosed.
[15] The system and method's different aspects of the present invention are
clear from the following
drawing descriptions describing the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[16] FIGURE 1, 1A, 1B,1C, 1D, IF, 1G, 1H, 11, 1.1 and 1K show the conceptual
flowchart of the method
and the system of the presented invention.

[17] FIGURE 2A describes the prior art for generating the hot process water
used for oilsands
extraction. Steam 2 is used in commercially available heat exchanger 1 to heat
the process water 4.
Many types of shell and tube or any other commercially available heat
exchangers can be used. The
steam condensate 3, after its heat was recovered to heat the process water, is
recycled and used again
in the boilers for generating additional steam. The process water 4 is heated
through heat exchanger 1
to generate the hot extraction process water 5, typically at temperatures in
the range of 70-90 C. The
hot extraction water is mixed with the oilsands to generate slurry and
separate the oil from the sand.


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

[18] FIGURE 2B describes the proposed method for indirectly generating the hot
process water for
oilsands extraction. Similar to the prior art, steam 11 is used to provide the
heat energy to drive the
process. The steam condensate 12 is recycled back to the boiler in a closed
system. Fine tailings stream
13 is heated indirectly by the steam 11 up to the stage it is transferred to a
solid material and gas phase
that contains mainly steam, as well as other hydrocarbons, like solvents, and
non-condensed gas
components 15. The solids 17 are removed from the gas phase 18 at separator
16. The water vapor 18 is
condensed while heating process water 14 to generate hot extraction water 20.
The hot extraction
water 20 is further mixed with the mined oilsands. The solids 17 can be
separated from the gas phase in
slurry form that includes a controlled amount of water. The solids along with
their water content are at
a high temperature close to the produced steam 18 temperature. The hot solids
and the water they
contain are mixed with air 9 in a mixture 8. There are commercially available
mixing machines that can
be used to generate the mixture between the solids rich slurry and the air 9.
The heat within flow 17 is
used to evaporate additional water to the air flow 9. Due to the partial
evaporation pressure in the air
(the partial water vapor pressure in comparison to the other gases in the air,
like nitrogen) additional
water will evaporate to the air while reducing the temperature of the solids
and the remaining humidity
within the solids. The humid air 5 is separated from the remaining solids 4
and released to the
atmosphere (possibly after dust removal). The cooled solids from the fine
tailings or the mature fine
tailings 4, with a controlled amount of moisture to prevent dust, is tracked 3
back to the mine and used
as back-fill where it can support traffic. The indirect heating of the fine
tailings is with the use of heat
exchanger 10. The heat exchanger may be highly susceptible to fouling, or the
accumulation of solid
material along its inner surfaces. Accordingly, in one embodiment of the
invention, the heat exchanger
is a spiral heat exchanger (such as those designed by Tranton, Germany). The
spiral heat exchanger is
less susceptible to fouling and, in case fouling occurs, it is much easier to
clean by the plant operators
crew with less down time. In another embodiment, Self-cleaning heat exchange
technology can be
applied in most spiral heat exchangers with any self cleaning technology known
in the art. The fouling
prone fluid flows inside the spiral with solid particles that are producing a
scouring action on the walls of
the spiral partitions as they travel. A distribution system in the inlet
spiral feed chamber provides a
uniform distribution of the cleaning particles into the spiral. The particles
are carried to a separator
where they separated from the liquid and are recycled in a controllable way
back to the spiral heat
exchanger inlet. However, other heat exchangers capable of indirect transfer
of heat from either a liquid
or gaseous substance to a fine tailings or to a SAGD produced fluid with
water, solvents, bitumen, solids,
gas and any other contaminates may be used. Accordingly, in another embodiment
of the invention, the
heat exchanger is a self-cleaning heat exchanger of any self cleaning
technology known in the art; for
example, self cleaning circulating fluidized bed exchangers designed by Klaren
By, Holland. Self-cleaning
heat exchange technology can be applied in most vertically oriented shell and
tube exchangers.
Examples include circulating scraping devices, turbulence inducing or heat
exchangers with an on-line
cleaning design (using circulating balls), etc.

[19] FIGURE 3 describes the proposed method for indirectly generating the hot
process water for
oilsands extraction. Steam 12 is used to provide the heat energy to drive the
process. The steam
condensate 5 is recycled back to the boiler in a closed system (not shown).
Fine tailing stream 7 is
heated indirectly by the steam and the condensate in two stages. In the first
stage 6, defined as pre-
heating, the MFT is heated without a phase change. The heated tailings 9 are
still in a liquid phase.
Steam is supplied to a non-direct contact steam generator 10, where the heat
energy of the condensing
steam 12 is used to evaporate the tailings to generate steam (water vapor) and
solid waste. Mechanical
energy is introduced to the tailings during the process 10. One example of a
system to perform the
process in unit 10 is described in Figure 4. The solid discharge 15 is
separated from the gas flow 13 and


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

tracked back to a landfill location. The solid lean gas flow 16 mainly
contains steam from the tailings
water that were evaporated and which are used for heating the process water 4
to generate hot
extraction process water 3 by direct or non-direct heat exchange 17. Any
contamination NCG (non
condensing gas) 18, like light hydrocarbons resulting from hydrocarbons and
solvent within the tailing
feed 7, are separated. They can be further combusted as a fuel source in a
boiler (not shown). The hot
process water is mixed with oilsands ore to generate slurry and separate the
oil from the sand and clay.
[20] FIGURE 4 shows a non-direct tailings steam generation system. Fine
tailings 6, like MFT, are fed
into a non-direct contact steam generator 1 that includes a heat exchanger in
the form of a longitudinal
externally heated pipe 2. The external wall of the pipe 2 is continually
heated, preferably with steam 7,
to generate heat flow to the internal volume of the pipe that is sufficient to
evaporate the water within
the tailings 6. The driving steam 7 condensate 8 is recycled, possibly after
recovering its heat through a
heat exchanger to pre-heat the tailings or for other purposes, back to the
boiler to generate additional
driving steam 7 (not shown). The driving steam 7 can be replaced with other
methods of heating pipe 2,
such as thermal oil. Pipe 2 includes internal rotating element 9 to provide
mechanical energy into the
tailings, especially into the dried tailings close to the discharge end. The
mechanical mixing energy is
designed to mobilize the solids within pipe enclosure 2, increase the heat
exchange efficiency with the
slurry, and clean the surface of the tube to increase the heat transfer
efficiency. The rotating element 9
can include screws, scoops or any commercially available rotating internals.
Two rotating screws 13 and
14 can be used as well, where, due to the rotating movement, the screws will
clean each other while
mixing and mobilizing the slurry and solids. To enhance the heat exchange to
the tailings, the heat
exchanger is extended in the longitudinal direction where the length L is at
least twice the diameter D.
[21] FIGURE 4A shows a non-direct, tailings steam generating system. Fine
tailings 6, like MFT, are
fed into a non-direct contact steam generator 1 that includes a heat exchanger
in the form of a
longitudinal externally heated pipe 2. System 1 is described in Figure 4. The
discharge from the steam
generator 1 is fed into a separator 10. The solids are collected at the bottom
of the separator and
discharged through discharge hopper 13 to reduce the discharge pressure
through double valves 12 and
14. The system can include additional separation units to separate fine solid
particles. This can include
one or more internal cyclones 11 to separate carry-on solid particles from the
gas flow. External
separation units, like external cyclones 17, can be used as well. The produced
solids lean stream 20 is
used as a water and heat source to generate the hot extraction process water.

[22] FIGURE 4B shows a non-direct, tailings steam generating system with
melted salt as heat
transfer medium instead of steam. Figure 4B is substantially similar to Figure
4A but where the heat
source is melted salt 2. The melted salt is continually circulated where hot
salt 7 is supplied to the
system with the colder salt 8, after heat energy is used to generate steam
from liquid feed 6. The use of
melted salt bath enclosure 1 has the advantage that the pressure in the heated
enclosure 1 is much
lower than with the use of steam as the heating fluid, with good heat transfer
coefficient.
[23] FIGURE 5 shows the vertical arrangement of non-direct contact longitude
steam generators and
a center collector / separator for the produced gas and solids. The longitude
steam generator is
described in Figure 4. Driving steam 12 is used to evaporate the fine tailings
13 and convert it into steam
and solids. The solids are removed with the help of mechanical rotating energy
15 to transfer the solids
to the center collector 16. Several longitude steam generators are arranged on
top of each other where
their discharge is collected by a collector 16. The collector has a gas
(steam) discharge outlet 17 at its


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

upper section and solids discharge 20 at its lower section. The lower section
can include a cone to
reduce the solids discharge diameter. The collecting container 16 can include
an apparatus to remove
solids deposits (not shown). Such an apparatus can move through the longitude
axis and use mechanical
energy or pressurized fluid to clean vessel 16 walls.

[24] FIGURE 5A shows the horizontal arrangement of non-direct contact
longitude steam
generators and a center collector / separator for the produced gas and solids.
The longitude steam
generator is described in Figure 4. Driving steam 12 is used to evaporate the
fine tailings 13 and convert
it into steam and solids. The solids inside the steam generator 2 are
mobilized with the help of
mechanical rotating energy 15 to transfer the solids to the center collector
16 and remove any fouling
from the heat transfer wall of the steam generator. Several longitude steam
generators 1 and 2, and
possibly 3, 4 and 5, can be arranged with their discharge connected to
centralized collector 16. The
longitude steam generators 1 and 2 can be arranged from both sides of the
collector 16. Additional
steam generators can be added also from additional directions of the
centralized collector 16, like 3, 4
and 5. The collector has a gas (steam) discharge outlet 17 at its upper
section and solids discharge outlet
20 at its lower section. The collecting container 16 can include an apparatus
22 to remove solids
deposits from the collecting enclosure 16. This apparatus 22 is capable of
moving inside enclosure 16,
close to its wall and scraping deposits, possibly with a rotating movement and
with the help of a
pressurized fluid. Another option is to add an internally rotating element
inside enclosure 16 that will
mobilize solids and slurry to the bottom discharge (not shown). The solids 20
are discharged through
outlet 19.

[25] FIGURE 5B shows an arrangement of non-direct contact longitude steam
generators inside a
common heating steam enclosure with a common collector / separator for the
produced gas and solids.
The structure of each longitude steam generator 34 is described in Figure 4,
with the notable difference
that the steam generator of Figure 5B does not includes the double wall as the
heating steam is
enclosed in enclosure 30. Driving steam 31 is used to evaporate the fine
tailings 32 and convert it into
steam and solids. The driving steam condensate is discharged from outlet 29 at
the bottom of the
heating steam enclosure 35. The solids are removed with the help of mechanical
rotating energy 37 to
transfer the solids to the center collector 16. Several longitude steam
generators are arranged with their
discharge connected to the discharge collector side 42. The discharge
collector has a gas (steam)
discharge outlet 41 at its upper section and solids discharge outlet 40 at its
lower section. The discharge
collector 42 can include an apparatus to remove solids deposits (not shown). A
single heating steam
enclosure 35 heats multiple longitude steam generators 34. The driving steam
31 and the produced
steam generated from the tailings 32 are separated and can be at a different
pressures due to the
separation between the heating enclosure 35 and the discharge cover 42.
Typically, the pressure of the
driving steam in enclosure 35 is higher than the pressure on the discharge
side 42.

[26] FIGURE 6 is a schematic view of the invention, with an open mine oilsands
extraction facility,
where the hot process water for the ore preparation is generated from
condensing the steam produced
from the fine tailings. A typical mine and extraction facility is briefly
described in block diagram 1 (See
"Past, Present and Future Tailings, Tailing Experience at Albian Sands Energy"
presentation by
Jonathan Matthews from Shell Canada Energy on December 8, 2008 at the
International Oil Sands
Tailings Conference in Edmonton, Alberta). Mined oil sand feed is transferred
via trucks to an ore
preparation facility, where it is crushed in a semi-mobile crusher 3. It is
also mixed with hot water 52 in a


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

rotary breaker 5. Oversized particles are rejected and removed to a landfill.
The ore mix goes through
slurry conditioning, where it is pumped through a special pipeline 7.
Chemicals and air are added to the
ore slurry 8. Air is injected at 8 to generate an aerated slurry flow. The
conditioned aerated slurry flow is
fed into the bitumen extraction facility, where it is injected into a Primary
Separation Cell 9. To improve
separation, the slurry is recycled through floatation cells 10. Oversized
particles are removed through a
screen 12, in the bottom of the separation cell. From the flotation cells, the
coarse and fine tailings are
separated in separator 13. The fine tailings flow to thickener 18. To improve
the separation in the
thickener, flocculant is added 17. Recycled water 16 is recovered from the
thickener and fine tailings are
removed from the bottom of thickener 18. The froth is removed from the Primary
Separation Cell 9, to
vessel 21. In this vessel, steam 14 is injected to remove air and gas from the
froth. The recovered froth is
maintained in a Froth Storage Tank 23. The froth 100 is directed to a froth
treatment plant at BLOCK 7.
This process is characterized by the use of different types of hydrocarbon
based solvents 101. There are
different technologies and different type of solvents in use within the
process. During the process most
of the solvents are recovered and recycled in the process. Tailings 103 from a
tailings solvent recovery
unit, commonly identified by the industry as TSRU tailings, are then disposed
of. Due to the fact that the
solvents helps in removing asphaltins from the froth, the TSRU tailing stream
from the froth treatment
block 7 includes ashfaltins, and fine solids that were introduced with the
froth flow, bitumen
components, solvents and water remains. The froth treatment tailings 103 are
heated in heater 31
where the water and light hydrocarbons evaporate and are separated 37 from the
solids, asphaltins, and
heavy hydrocarbons fractures, and a pre-designed amount of moisture remains
within the solids to
prevent dust. The steam can be produced in a standard high pressure steam
boiler 40, in OTSG, or by a
COGEN, using the temperature in a gas turbine tail (not shown). The tailing
water from the oilsands
mine facility 1 is disposed of in a tailing pond, described in BLOCK 6. The
tailing pond is built in such a
way that the sand tailings are used to build the containment areas for the
fine tailings. The tailing
sources come from Extraction Process. They include coarse tailings, and the
fine tailings from the
thickener 18, where flocculants are added to enhance the solid settling and
recycling of warm water.
Another source of fine tailings are the Froth Treatment Tailings 103, where
the tailings are discarded by
the solvent recovery process, characterized by high fines content, relatively
high asphaltene content,
and residual solvent. (See "Past, Present and Future Tailings, Tailing
Experience at Albian Sands Energy"
a presentation by Jonathan Matthews from Shell Canada Energy on December 8,
2008 at the
International Oil Sands Tailings Conference in Edmonton, Alberta). A Sand dyke
55 contains the tailings
pond. The sand separates from the tailing and generates a sand beach 56. Fine
tailings 57 are put above
the sand beach at the middle-low section of the tailing pond. Some fine
tailings are trapped in the sand
beach 56. On top of the fine tailings is the recycled water layer 58. The
tailing concentration increases
with depth. Close to the bottom of the tailing layer are the MFT (Mature Fine
Tailings). (See "The
Chemistry of Oil Sands Tailings: Production to Treatment" presentation by R.J.
Mikula, V.A. Munoz, O.E.
Omotoso, and K.L. Kasperski of CanmetENERGY, Devon, Alberta, Natural Resources
Canada on
December 8, 2008 at the International Oil Sands Tailings Conference in
Edmonton, Alberta). The
recycled water 41 is pumped from a location close to the surface of the
tailing pond, (typically from a
floating barge). The fine tailings are pumped from the deep areas of the fine
tailings pond 43. MFT
(Mature Fine Tailing) 43 is pumped from the lower section of the tailing pond
and is then directed to the
non-direct contact steam generator (NDCSG) 31. Prior to injection into the non-
direct contact steam
generator, the fine tailings can be heated in heat exchanger 39. The heat can
be supplied from hot
tailing streams, like 15, that are sent to the tailings pond. In this case,
the tailing stream will be fed as
stream 51 into the MFT pre-heating heat exchanger 39 (not shown). Another
option is to use the
condensate 35 from the NDCSG 31 for pre-heating the MFT. For that option, the
condensate 35 will be
fed as stream 51 into the pre-heating heat exchanger 39. Heat exchanger 39 can
be any available design
that can heat thick material like MFT. There are many commercially available
heat exchangers; some


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

include self-cleaning designs that can be used at 39. The fine tailings 33 are
fed into the NDCSG 31
where they are heated to a stage where the water evaporates into steam, slurry
and solids. The slurry
and solids are mobilized with the help of mechanical energy, like a longitude
rotating screw 34.
However, any available NDCSG that can transfer the MFT to gas and solids can
be used as well. Under
the heat and pressure conditions inside the NDCSG, the MFT turns into gas and
solids, as the water is
converted to steam. The solids are recovered at the bottom of the collector /
separator 37 in a dry form
or in a semi-dry, semi-solid slurry form 51. The semi- dry slurry form is
stable enough to be sent back
into the oilsands mine without the need for further drying, to support
traffic. The water vapor that was
generated from heating the fine tailings in the NDCSG is used to heat the
extraction facility process
water 62. During this process they are also condensed and can be added to the
extraction process as
well. In unit 60, the water vapors are condensed while the process water 62 is
heated, generating hot
process water 52 used for the extraction process. Non condensable gas (NCG) 61
can be recovered after
the water vapor condenses. The NCG 61 can occur as a result of hydrocarbons
and solvents in the tailing
feed 43. It can be combusted as an energy source. Another option is to inject
the NCG 61 for froth
aeration in 8 to replace, at least partly, the used air (not shown). The
solvents within the gas phase 38
will be condensed into the process water 62. Light solvents and hydrocarbons
components can be
recovered from the NCG 61 using commercially available vapour recovery systems
and then recycled
back to the froth treatment facility at BLOCK 7 where it can be used as
solvent. Unit 60 can be arranged
directly or indirectly, as described in units 70 and 77. In a non-direct heat
exchanger / condenser the
produced steam 71 (which is also flow 38), is condensed on the heat exchanger
where the cold process
water is heated. The condensate 72 and the hot process water do not mix. The
condensed steam 72 can
be added to the heated process water 73 at a later stage (not shown).The
heated process water 73 is
flow 52 and is used in the extraction plant of BLOCK 5. NCG 75 are removed
from the system where they
can be burned or injected to the froth for enhancing the separation of the
bitumen from the water. Unit
77 describes a direct contact heat exchanger that can be used as unit 60 for
recovering the heat and
water from the produced steam while generating hot process water. The produced
steam 38 is injected
at 78, where it is mixed with the cold process water 79 to generate hot
process water 76 which includes
the condensed steam that is converted into liquid water. The hot process water
includes the water from
the produced steam. The heated process water 76 is flow 52 and is used in the
extraction plant of BLOCK
5. Any generated NCG 80 is removed and used for combustion, froth separation,
or for other various
uses. The temperature of the discharged hot water 57 is between 70C-95C,
typically in the 80C-90C
range. The hot water is supplied to the ore preparation facility. The
separated dry solids 36 can be
mixed 90 with additional MFT 95, possibly after thickening. Any commercially
available mixing method
90 can be used in the process: a rotating mixer, Z type mixer, screw mixer,
extruder, or any other
commercially available mixer (not shown). Ambient air 93 can be blown 91 using
blower 92 and mixed
with the hot solids 36 and potentially additional mature fine tailings 95,
possibly after thickening.
Additional water will be removed from the additional MFT 95 (and possibly from
the hot solids discharge
36, if they discharged from separator 37 in a slurry form). The water is
removed in a vapour form to the
air 91 during the mixing process 90 to generate humid air 94. The humid air is
separated from the cooled
solids 96 in a separator. The cooled solids 96 include a controlled moisture
amount to prevent dust, but
the remaining water content is sufficiently low to allow trucking 54 the solid
waste 96 to be used as
back-fill and to support traffic. By continually consuming the fine tailing
water 43, the oil sand mine
facility can use a much smaller tailing pond as a means of separating the
recycled water from the fine
tailing. This solution will allow for the creation of a sustainable, fully
recyclable water solution for the
open mine oilsands facilities.


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

[27] FIGURE 7 includes a Non-direct contact steam generator and an insitu
underground heavy oil
extraction through steam injection. Emulsion of water, bitumen, solvents, and
gas is produced from a
production well 10, like a SAGD well. The produced flow 1 is separated in a
separator 3 (located in
BLOCK A) to generate water rich flow 5 with contaminates like sand,
hydrocarbons, solvents, etc, and
hydrocarbons rich flow 4. There are a few commercial designs for separators
that are currently used by
the industry that can be used in this process. Chemicals can be added to the
separation process. The
hydrocarbon rich flow 4 is further treated in processing plant at BLOCK B.
Flow 4 is further separated
into produced water and produced bitumen, usually diluted with light
hydrocarbons to enhance the
separation process and to reduce the viscosity which allows the flow of the
bitumen in the
transportation lines. In BLOCK B, the produced water that remained with the
flow 4 is de-oiled and used,
usually with make-up water from water wells, for generating steam 6. The water
rich flow 5, at a high
temperature that is close to the produced emulsion temperature, is pumped into
a heater 6 where it is
heated with heat 7 to transfer a portion of the hot produced water into steam
and possibly transfer a
portion of the solvents within the water to a gas phase. In one embodiment of
the invention, the heater
is a closed system of heated molten salts. Such systems are commercially
available. A common salts
mixture is potassium nitrate and sodium nitrite with combustion heat source. A
common arrangement
will be a shell and tube heat exchanger where the molten salts are at the
shell side. Self cleaning heat
exchanger arrangements can be used as well. As an example, self cleaning
circulating fluidized bed
exchangers designed by Klaren By, Holland with molten salts as the heat source
can be used. Self-
cleaning heat exchange technology can be applied in most vertically oriented
shell and tube exchangers.
Examples include circulating scraping devices, turbulence inducing or heat
exchangers with an on-line
cleaning design (using circulating balls) where the heat source is molten
salts and the cleaning is
implemented only on the produced water side. The advantage in the usage of the
melted salt heater is
that the heat transfer is at high temperatures and low pressures. To achieve
the same heat transfer flux
and temperature with steam as the heat source, high pressure on the heating
steam side will have to be
used. The mixture of the gas phase and liquid phase 8 is separated in a
separator 9 to the gas phase,
composed mainly from steam possibly with light hydrocarbons and solvents. The
generated steam,
possibly with hydrocarbon solvents 13, is added to a "standard" 100% quality
steam 14 generated in a
boiler, OTSG, or any other facility, like COGEN. The combined streams of
steam, possibly with solvents,
are injected 2 into the underground formation through steam injection well 11.
Additional solvents can
be added to the injection steam 2- it is a common practice to add solvents to
the generated steam for
injection. It is known that hydrocarbons that are mixed with the steam can
improve the oil recovery. The
liquid phase water 12 with solids and other contaminates, like hydrocarbon
solvents, is recycled back to
the produced water 4 for treatment in the base plant at BLOCK B. Based on the
water contaminates
level and the tendency for foaling, portion 12A of the discharged water 12
from heater 6 can be recycled
back into the heater 6 to generate additional steam 13. The liquid water 12 is
at a high saturated
temperature so as to recycle and minimize the amount of consumed heat. Liquid
flow 12 heat can be
recovered for pre-heating produce water flow 5 or for any other use. The
additional steam 13 can
include solvents in a gas phase as well as other solid contaminates. The
facility described in BLOCK C can
be located on the well pad, in close proximity to the injection and production
wells, where the main oil
treatment plant and the water treatment plant in BLOCK B, typically referred
to as "Central Processing
facilities", are located remotely where a few pads (Block C) are connected to
a single Central Processing
Facility (BLOCK B).

[28] FIGURE 7A includes steam driven Non-direct contact heat exchanger steam
generator and an
insitu underground heavy oil extraction through steam injection. Figure 7A has
similarities to Figure 7.
Produced water flow 5, with contaminates like sand, hydrocarbons, solvents
etc, is heated in heat


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

exchanger 6, operated by steam 30. The heat exchanger can be a shell and tube
heat exchanger,
possibly with self cleaning capabilities. Self-cleaning heat exchange
technology can be applied in most
vertically oriented shell and tube exchangers. Examples include circulating
scraping devices, turbulence
inducing or heat exchangers with an on-line cleaning design (using circulating
balls), etc. An additional
example for a heat exchanger that can be self cleaning is self-cleaning
circulating fluidized bed
exchangers or spiral heat exchangers with or without self cleaning
capabilities. The heated produced
water 8 is separated in separator 9 to gas phase 13 containing steam and
hydrocarbons gas, like
solvents, and liquid phase 12 containing saturated liquid water and additional
contaminates, like heavy
hydrocarbons, dissolved solids, and suspended solids. A portion of the
saturated water 12A can be
recycled to the heat exchanger feed produced water 5. The portion of the
recycled flow is a function of
the fouling in the heat exchanger 6 due to the increase in the contamination
due to a phase change of
water and light hydrocarbons. Heat from the saturated produced water 12 can be
recovered in heat
exchanger 7 to heat the boiler feed water (BFW) 14 that is supplied from the
water treatment plant in
the SAGD facility in BLOCK B. Heat exchanger 7 is a spiral heat exchanger that
is not prone to fouling and
is easy to clean. Any other heat exchanger with or without self cleaning
capabilities can be used as well.
The BFW source is the produced water within the bitumen 4 as the separation in
BLOCK A does not
remove all the produced water from the product and the produced water that was
used for steam
production 12B after the heat was recovered at the heat exchanger 7. Heat
exchanger 7 can be a spiral
heat exchanger or any other type of heat exchanger, like shell and tube. High
quality Boiler Feed Water
14 from the water treatment plant at the central processing facility at BLOCK
B can be pre-heated at
heat exchanger 7 to generate pre-heated boiler feed water 14A while recovering
heat from the heated
produced saturated water 12 at separator 9. A portion 12A of the separated
saturated water 12 can be
recycled back to the feed of heat exchanger 5 where additional liquid water
phase will be converted to
gas phase due to the heat energy it received in heat exchanger 6. The steam to
operate the heat
exchanger 6 is generated in the OTSG. The BFW 14B is fed into economizer 20
and into the steam
generator 22 where 80% steam is generated. The 80% steam is separated in
separator 27. The blow
down water 28 is used to generate low pressure steam and is used as a heat and
water source. If the
BFW 14B is high quality (like in the case that the water treatment in BLOCK B
is based on an evaporation
plant where the BFW is distilled water with very low levels of dissolved
solids), it is possible to recycle a
portion of the blow down 26 to the OTSG. A portion of the produced steam 30 is
used as the heat source
for heat exchanger 6. The steam produced locally on the well pad from the
produced water 5 and the
make-up steam 32 is injected 2 to the underground formation through injection
well 2. The condensate
29 from the driving steam 30 is recycled back to the boiler after going
through the economizer (due its
high saturated water temperature).

[29] FIGURE 8 includes a steam driven Non-direct contact heat exchanger steam
generator and an
insitu underground heavy oil extraction through steam injection. Figure 8 has
similarities to Figure 7 and
7A. BLOCK B describes a thermal oil central facility for bitumen processing
and water treatment plant.
The facility extracts the bitumen and removes some contaminates, as well as
water, and possibly adds
dilbit to allow effective piping of the product. The produced water within the
product is treated to
remove oil contamination. The de-oiled water is further treated in a water
treatment plant by various
commercially available methods like evaporation, reverse osmosis, and others
to produce Boiler Feed
Water (BFW) 14 that can be used in the boiler to produce steam. The BFW 14 is
heated in an economizer
23 within boiler 20. The heated water flows to the boiler heat exchanger
between steam drum 18 and
mud drum 19. The combustion heat from the combustion 21 is heating the boiler
pipe to generate the
high pressure steam in the steam drum 18. A small amount (1%-3%) of Blow-down
is discharged from
the mud drum 22. The blow-down can be added to flow 5 from separator 3 or,
possibly after heat


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

recovery, can be added to flow 4 and directed to the base plant at BLOCK B.
Portion 7 from the 100%
quality steam 17 is used to operate a heat exchanger 6 to generate additional
steam, possibly with
solvents from contaminated produced water 5. The water used to generate the
additional steam 13 is
water separated at or close to the well pad from the hot produced emulsion of
bitumen, water and
other materials like solvents and gases. The additional steam is generated in
heat exchanger 6. Due to
severe fouling conditions, heat exchanger 6 can include self cleaning
capabilities. In the diagram, the
heat exchanger includes internally rotating element 16 to remove deposits. Any
other form of fouling
resistant heat exchanger, possibly with inline cleaning capabilities, can be
used as well. From the heat
exchanger, the flow pressure is controlled by a valve 16 to reduce the
pressure so as to flash a portion of
the liquid phase to a gas phase and separate the liquid phase from the gas
phase in vessel 9. The liquid
phase 12, possibly after recovering its heat to the produced water 5 or to the
BFW 14, is directed to the
produced bitumen flow and returned to the main plant. A portion of flow 12 can
be recycled back to the
water feed 5 from separator 3 to evaporate additional liquids and increase the
contaminated
concentration in the discharged flow 12. The produced steam 13 can include
other gases like solvents
and light hydrocarbons introduced with the produced water 5. Solid
contaminates introduced with the
produced water 5, like silica fumes, can be in the produced steam 13. To
resolve the solid contamination
problem, the produced steam 13 is cleaned in unit 26 to remove contaminates.
The solid removal can
include any commercially available package for removing solids from a hot gas
stream. It can include an
electrostatic precipitation separator, a wet scrubber using saturate water
with chemicals (like
magnesium salts), or any other system to remove the contaminates 28, like
silica, from the gas stream.
The cleaned steam and hydrocarbon flow, 27 after the solids were removed, is
used for underground
injection through an injection well 11. Additional steam 17A from the boiler
can be added as well and
injected into the underground formation. The produced emulsion 1 is produced
from the production
well 10 and separated as described in FIGURE 7 and 7A in BLOCK A to generate a
bitumen rich flow 4
and water rich flow 5. The produced water flow 5 is used in the steam
generator heat exchanger 6 while
the bitumen rich flow with the remaining water is directed to the central
processing facility at BLOCK B.
[30] FIGURE 9 includes steam driven Non-direct contact heat exchanger steam
generator and an
insitu underground heavy oil extraction with saturated liquid boiler feed
water scrubber. BLOCK C
includes a boiler system with condensed water recycle feed 15. Steam 7
produced in the boiler is
directed to heat exchanger 6 where the steam temperature is used to heat
separated produced water 5.
Due to the heat transfer within the heat exchanger, a portion of the produced
water is converted to gas
within the heat exchanger 6. Another option is that the heated produced water
will be maintained
under high pressure that prevents the generation of the gas phase within the
heat exchanger 6 where
steam 13, possibly with other gases, will be generated in flash vessel 9 where
the liquid phase 12 is
separated from the gas phase 13 and a portion 12A of the produced liquid phase
12, especially if a phase
transfer within the heat exchanger 6 is prevented to reduce fouling. The
produced steam 13, possibly
with additional hydrocarbons, like solvents, and contaminates, like silica,
are washed in vessel 26 with
saturated water, possibly with additional chemical additives 13A, like
Magnesium salts such as
magnesium chloride, caustics, or any other material that can be effective in
reducing contaminates
levels in the produced steam gas phase. Clean condensed boiler feed water 29
from heat exchanger 6 is
directed to wet scrubber 26 where it is recycled and used to scrub
contaminates from the produced
steam and gas 13. The scrubber contaminated liquid 28 is discharged, together
with the liquid from the
separator 9, to the central processing facility at BLOCK B by flow 4. The
saturated liquid from scrubber 9
can also be recycled with produced water 5 to heat exchanger 6 where it is
heated and additional steam
is generated. The produced steam 27 is used for injection into the underground
formation for oil
recovery, possibly with additional make-up steam 17A produced by a boiler at
BLOCK C from treated
water 14.


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

[31] FIGURE 10 describes a method with 3 steps for water and solvents recovery
from liquid fine
tailings that includes a mixture of liquid water and valuable hydrocarbon
solvents. There is a safety
advantage to using a mixture of hydrocarbons solvents with water from the
flammability perspective.
Hydrocarbon solvents tailings are very risky, especially where high
temperatures are involved to
evaporate the solvents. When the solvents tailings includes water, the
flammability risk is reduced. The
fine particles within the hydrocarbon solvent will stay in an aqua form with
the water after the
hydrocarbon solvents evaporated. This will cause the creation of a fine
tailings liquid stream, possibly
with hydrocarbons solvents remains. The described method addressing that
problem, while allowing the
recovery of the valuable solvents and while allowing the use of liquid water
in the extraction mixture
and recovering the water component of the tailings in an additional step. The
FIRST step includes fine
tailings which include water, hydrocarbon solvents, asphaltins, fine clay
particles, and other
contaminates which are heated indirectly in heater 3. The heater includes a
rotating enclosure, possibly
with internals to mobilize the tailing solids. Rotating internals with a fixed
enclosure can be used as well.
Due to the heat transfer through the enclosure wall, liquid hydrocarbons
solvents, possibly with some
liquid water, changes phase from liquid to vapour gas. The vapour 9 that was
generated in the first stage
is separated from the solids and slurry 14 in separator 8. The separated
solids can include solvent
hydrocarbons remains and liquid water. The separated gas phase 9 is directed
to heat exchanger /
condenser 10 where the heat 13 is used to heat cold process water or for any
other use within the
extraction process. The condensed liquid solvents 11, which can include water,
are recycled back to the
process. Non condensed gas 12 can be cleaned and released, or burned to
recover caloric value and
remove contaminates. The solids with the liquids remains, possibly in a slurry
form, are directed to the
SECOND step. The solids 15 are directed to a direct contact combustion
enclosure 17 where they are
directly mixed with combustion gas and heated by the combustion reaction. A
hydrocarbon, like natural
gas, or carbon fuel, like petcoke 18, is mixed with air and combusted 20 to
generate heat and
combustion gas. If the fuel includes sulfur, additional chemicals, like lime
stone can be added to the
combustion stage with the fuel 18 or with the heated tailings 15. The
combustion and mixing enclosure
17 is a rotating enclosure, possibly with internals to enhanced the mixture
between the solids and the
combustion gas to evaporate all the liquid remains within the solids. A
portion (preferably as much as
possible) of the hydrocarbons and carbons remains in the tailing flow 15 will
be fully or partly burned
from the heat generated by combustion 20. The hot gas and solids mixture 21 is
separated in separator
22. The hot combustion gas 16 that includes water vapours from the water
remains in slurry 15, are
directed to the FIRST STEP where they are used as the heat source to non-
directly heat enclosure 3 for
indirectly evaporating the solvents in the first step. After the indirect
heating of the evaporation
enclosure in STEP 1, the mixture 2 of the combustion gas and steam is directed
to heat exchanger 6
where the heat is recovered from flow 2 and the water vapour is condensed to
liquid water 5 that can
be used as extraction water. The heat within gas phase flow 2 is used to heat
the process extraction
water. Heat exchanger / condenser 6 can be of a non-direct contact or direct
contact type where the
cold process water is directly mixed with the combustion gas and steam. The
cooled combustion gas 7 is
released to the atmosphere, possibly after further cleaning. In the THIRD STEP
the hot solids from the
combustion steps 25 are mixed with water based tailings 26. (Tailings 26 are
different from solvent
tailings 1 as tailings 26 do not include recoverable solvents. Tailings 26 can
also be Mature Fine Tailings
from tailing pond.) The heat within the hot solids 25 is used to evaporate
additional water from tailings
26. Air 27 can be added as well to reduce the water vapor partial pressure and
by that reduce the
temperature of the solid tailings further by removing additional liquid water
from the water based
tailings 26. In addition, if the fuel 18 in the combustion stage was a low
quality fuel that included sulfur,
and if lime was used to react with the sulfur, the oxygen within air 27 will
react to generate gypsum


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

while consuming additional water during this reaction. The hot solids from the
combustion stage,
together with additional tailings and air, are mixed within enclosure 29.
Enclosure 29 includes rotating
internals to enhance the mixture 28. The amount of water tailings 26 is
controlled to maintain sufficient
water moisture within the solids 28 to prevent dust but at the same time, to
be sufficiently stable to be
used as back-fill and to support traffic. The solids 32 are separated from the
humid air 31 and are
trucked 33 to the mine site where they can be used as back-fill for effective
disposal. In the three step
process described above, one potential disadvantage of the non-direct heat
transfer in the first step,
resulting in lower temperature and evaporating heat transfer rates is overcome
because the first step is
mostly used to evaporate solvents which required a lower heat and temperature
for their transfer
where the remaining water, and possibly heavier hydrocarbons, will be
evaporated in the second step of
direct contact with combustion gas.
[32] FIGURE 10A describes a method with 3 steps for water and solvents
tailings processing similar to
FIGURE 10 but with a fluid bed combustion direct contact heating. Steps 1 and
3 were described above
in FIGURE 10. The SECOND STEP includes a fluid bed combustion furnace to
directly heat and possibly
combust hydrocarbons and carbons remains within the tailings 15 after most of
the light solvents were
recovered in the FIRST STEP. Fuel 18, that can be carbon or hydrocarbon fuel,
is combusted with air 19
in a fluid bed enclosure. The combustion is done at the lower section of the
enclosure where the tailings
15 after most of the solvents removed are injected to the upper section of the
fluid bed combustor
above the combustion. Carbon and hydrocarbons within the tailings are
combusted or transferred to gas
and solid components within the fluid bed due the heat, and the combustion gas
and oxygen. Due to the
combustion heat, the water within tailing solids 15 evaporates to generate a
mixture of steam and
combustion gas 23. The hot gas flow 16 is used at the first step as the heat
source to evaporate the light
valuable solvents. In the fluid bed enclosure 17, the direct contact heat
transfer is a counter flow type,
where the combustion gas is flowing upwards while the tailings are flowing
downwards where they are
discharged from the bottom of the enclosure.
[33] FIGURE 11 describes recycling of hot particles for heating and evaporates
at least a portion of
the fine tailings while heating the particles by direct contact with
combustion gas. Figure 11 includes
two rotating enclosures - enclosure 11 for mixing the fine tailings 16 with
hot solid particles 5 and
enclosure 4 to directly heat the solid particles while combusting and
hydrocarbons or carbons remains
with the remaining tailings. Fine tailings from open mine bitumen extraction
process that can include
solvent remains from solvent extraction process are introduced into a rotating
enclosure 11 where it is
mixed with hot particles 5. Hot articles 5 can be made of sand, crushed
aggregate, ceramic or metal like
alloy steel. The particles can be any rounded shape, preferably in the shape
of full or hollow balls.
Enclosure 11 rotation enhances the mixture and mobilizes it to the discharge
end 10. It is possible to use
rotating internals or vertical fluid bed design to mobilize the mixture 12,
possibly in a slurry form. To
increase the heat transfer to the tailings, enclosure 11 can be heated with
combustion gas 9. Due o the
heat of the hot particles 5, liquid phase changed to vapor phase 13 and remove
from the enclosure. The
vapour phase 13 includes solvents and water. The vapour condensed in condenser
24 where the
recovered solvents and liquid water 25 is recycled back to the extraction
process while the condensation
heat 27 is recovered for use within the extraction process as well. The
particles and the fine tailings
remains 10, mainly solids, possibly with heavy solvents, water, hydrocarbons
and other contaminate
materials that are captured within the solids, are directed to a rotating
combustion enclosure 4. To
enhance the mixture between the combustion gas and particles 5, lifting
internals like scoops 7 can be
used. The heat source is carbon or hydrocarbon fuel 1 combusted 3 with air 2,
possibly with combustion
gas circulation 8. The fine solids for disposal and the hot particles that
were heated by the combustion
are separated. The fine solids 6 that were part from tailing stream 16 are
separated from hot particles 5
that are recycled to re-heat tailing stream 16. The fine solids 6 are mixed 19
with additional tailings 17


CA 02776389 2012-05-07

and air 18 as to use the heat within the hot solids discharged from the
combustion enclosure to
evaporate additional water to generate humid air and by that consume
additional tailings 18. The
amount of the additional tailings is controlled to maintain sufficient
humidity within the waste solid
discharge to prevent dust but at the same time to generate a solid waste that
can be back-fill and
support traffic. The humid air 21 is separated from the stable solid waste 22
that is trucked for disposal
as filling material.
[34] FIGURE 11A described hot particles recycle as the heat source for fine
tailings evaporation and
fluid bed combustor to combust the tailings solids remains and generate the
hot recycled particles. Fine
tailings 18 injected into rotation enclosure 2. The enclosure includes
internal spiral to mobilize and mix
the hot particles 13 and the tailings 18. The heat evaporate portion of the
tailings 20. The evaporated
gas condensed 22 and recycled back to the extraction process. Non Condensed
Gases 21 can be
combusted or scrubbed to remove hydrocarbon contaminates. The tailings and
particles 11 directed to
enclosure 1 which is a fluid bed combustor. Air 6 and fuel are injected and
combusted in a fluid-bed
enclosure. The particles together with the tailings solids 11, possibly with
water, solvents, hydrocarbons,
asphaltins and other contaminates are injected to the fluid bed reactor. The
carbons material is
combusted while the water remains evaporates within the high temperature
combustion bed 7.
Additional fuel, like pet coke or coal can be added with solids stream 11.
Another option with the
current low natural gas prices is to use natural gas with the air 6 as the
fuel source. The fluid bed
combustor can include cyclone 9 to recycled carry-on solids 8 back to the bed.
Carry on solids 14A can
be removed from the discharged combustion gas 10. Commercial available
separation technology, like
electrostatic precipitator can be used to scrub solid particles. The hot fine
solids introduced with the
tailing stream 18 and the recycled particles are discharged 12 from the
combustion enclosure bottom.
The solid flow separated to the solids for disposal 14 and the hot recycled
particles 13. The hot recycled
particles can be made of sand, ceramic particles, aggregates or metal spheres.
The Solids for disposal 14
and 14A are mixed with additional tailing water 15 in mixer 4 to reduce the
solids temperature,
evaporate additional water and prevent dust. The disposed solids are stable
sufficiently to support
traffic.

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date Unavailable
(22) Filed 2012-05-07
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2012-11-06
Examination Requested 2017-05-03

Abandonment History

Abandonment Date Reason Reinstatement Date
2019-03-25 R30(2) - Failure to Respond
2019-05-07 FAILURE TO PAY APPLICATION MAINTENANCE FEE 2019-05-27

Maintenance Fee

Description Date Amount
Last Payment 2019-05-27 $100.00
Next Payment if small entity fee 2020-05-07 $100.00
Next Payment if standard fee 2020-05-07 $200.00

Note : If the full payment has not been received on or before the date indicated, a further fee may be required which may be one of the following

  • the reinstatement fee set out in Item 7 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules;
  • the late payment fee set out in Item 22.1 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules; or
  • the additional fee for late payment set out in Items 31 and 32 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules.

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Filing $200.00 2012-05-07
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2014-05-07 $50.00 2014-02-14
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2015-05-07 $50.00 2015-03-31
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2016-05-09 $50.00 2016-03-31
Request for Examination $400.00 2017-05-03
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2017-05-08 $100.00 2017-05-03
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2018-05-07 $100.00 2018-05-03
Reinstatement: Failure to Pay Application Maintenance Fees $200.00 2019-05-27
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 7 2019-05-07 $100.00 2019-05-27
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
BETZER, MAOZ
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
None
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Filter Download Selected in PDF format (Zip Archive)
Document
Description
Date
(yyyy-mm-dd)
Number of pages Size of Image (KB)
Abstract 2012-05-07 1 14
Description 2012-05-07 14 1,097
Claims 2012-05-07 2 61
Drawings 2012-05-07 30 472
Representative Drawing 2012-07-03 1 6
Cover Page 2012-10-30 1 34
Correspondence 2012-05-23 1 15
Assignment 2012-05-07 3 78
Fees 2014-02-14 1 24
Fees 2015-03-31 1 21
Correspondence 2015-07-17 4 90
Correspondence 2015-07-20 1 21
Fees 2016-03-31 1 27
Prosecution-Amendment 2017-05-03 1 28
Fees 2017-05-03 1 28
Fees 2018-05-03 1 24
Prosecution-Amendment 2018-09-25 6 383
Fees 2019-05-13 1 25
Fees 2019-05-27 1 27