Analysis Of Froth Treatment: Oil Sands Bitumen Recovery

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Froth Treatment: Oil Sands Bitumen Recovery

Introduction
This description will give you an understanding of the fundamentals behind the Bitumen Froth
Treatment process, as performed at Naphthenic Froth Treatment (NFT) operating sites. Bitumen is the valuable hydrocarbon component of the ore formation which begins in the ground, and is extracted by the Mining department. Prior to entering the Froth Treatment facility, the Bitumen Froth is created by mixing the ore with hot water for hydrotransport. Froth is the main input to the NFT process and undergoes four separation stages to improve the hydrocarbon recovery of the overall process. The quality of the product delivered to the Primary Upgrading (PUG) facility also depends on the separation
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Inclined Plate Separator (Giove, 2016a)
2. Secondary IPS
Identical in appearance and operation to the Primary IPS, the Secondary IPS units subject the process fluid to a second tier of gravity separation. This extra resonance time, time spend inside the vessel, is important to help disrupt any emulsions that form. Emulsions are an issue responsible for trapping water and solids inside of the hydrocarbon phase, reducing the quality of the overflow stream.
Additional time allows for more hydrocarbon to separate from the non-hydrocarbon phase, which aids in the recovery of the Naphthenic Diluent from the underflow stream. The underflow stream is then pumped to the Primary Cyclones for the next stage of separation.
3. Primary Cyclones
The Primary Cyclones are much smaller conical vessels that cause separation due to centrifugal force.
This force occurs since the feed enters at a higher pressure and velocity than the IPS units, the fluid is forced towards the outside perimeter of the small vessels creating a vortex inside of each cyclone. Like the IPS units, the difference in density forces the heavier solids and water particles downwards toward the underflow stream. The vortex allows the lighter hydrocarbon phase to rise through the centre of
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The overflow stream is pumped back to the Secondary IPS units to allow for more hydrocarbon recovery. The underflow stream is pumped to the Secondary Cyclones to continue the recovery process.
4. Secondary Cyclones
With lower hydrocarbon content, the Secondary Cyclone feed stream is subjected to a larger centrifugal force to achieve similar recovery to the Primary Cyclone units. Smaller Cyclone vessels are used in the
Secondary phase to increase the pressure and velocity of the feed stream, thus increasing the centrifugal force (Giove, 2016b). With identical operation to the Primary phase, most of the non- hydrocarbons are sent to the underflow stream while the hydrocarbons are sent to the overflow stream.
The overflow stream is pumped back to the Primary Cyclones for further recovery. The underflow

stream is sent to the NRU, the final recovery process to recover the remaining hydrocarbon entrapped in the fluid to be discarded as

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