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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2017, Article ID 9470230, 14 pages
Research Article

An Enhanced-Solvent Deasphalting Process: Effect of Inclusion of SiO2 Nanoparticles in the Quality of Deasphalted Oil

Grupo de Investigación en Fenómenos de Superficie, Michael Polanyi, Departamento de Procesos y Energía, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín, Medellín, Colombia

Correspondence should be addressed to Camilo A. Franco; oc.ude.lanu@raocnarfaac and Farid B. Cortés; oc.ude.lanu@setrocbf

Received 17 January 2017; Revised 9 February 2017; Accepted 12 February 2017; Published 8 March 2017

Academic Editor: Victor M. Castaño

Copyright © 2017 Juan D. Guzmán et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this work, the effect of nanoparticles in deasphalting heavy oil and extra-heavy oil process at laboratory-scale based on the conventional solvent deasphalting process was studied and named enhanced-solvent deasphalting (e-SDA) process. This work evaluated the effect of the nanoparticles of SiO2 in the separation efficiency based on deasphalted oil (DAO) fraction quality compared to the conventional process of deasphalting (SDA). Different effects have been assessed such as solvent to oil ratio, operating temperatures, type of solvent, and SiO2 nanoparticles dosage. The DAO quality was based on the asphaltene and sulfur contents, API gravity, distillable fraction, and rheological properties. The improvement of the process from the use of nanoparticles was confirmed with important reductions in the asphaltene and sulfur contents in the DAO of up to 24% and 23%, respectively, in comparison with the SDA process. Also, the API gravity can be increased by approximately 14% with the e-SDA process. The rheological properties of the DAO were improved by the inclusion of nanoparticles showing reductions in the viscosities of the DAO greater than 50% in comparison with the conventional process. These results lead to the conclusion that the e-SDA process improves the DAO quality when compared with the typical deasphalting process.