A system and method for reactively refining hydrocarbons, such as heavy oils with API gravities of less than 20 degrees and bitumen-like hydrocarbons with viscosities greater than 1000 cp at standard temperature and pressure, using a selected fluid at supercritical conditions. A reaction portion of the system and method delivers lightweight, volatile hydrocarbons to an associated contacting unit which operates in mixed subcritical/supercritical or supercritical modes. Using thermal diffusion, multiphase contact, or a momentum generating pressure gradient, the contacting unit separates the reaction products into portions that are viable for use or sale without further conventional refining and hydro-processing techniques.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED R&D
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Los Alamos National Security for the management and operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Government has certain rights in this invention.