Application of Microwave Heating in the Demulsification of Crude Oil Emulsions


Abstract- In recent times the formation of pre-processing water-in-crudeemulsions in petroleum industries has led to some inherent challenges suchas the reduction in the efficiency of oil recovery, high cost of operation andcorrosion in pipes. Traditional ways of pulverizing the emulsions using heatand chemical approaches have many disadvantageous from both economicand environmental points of view. Microwave irradiation is an efficientmethod for the demulsification of the water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion,encountered in refinery industries. The microwave technology is a costeffective way of emulsifying water-in-crude-oil emulsion. Two methods wereused for conducting the demulsification performance test, i.e. chemical andmicrowave. The method of chemical demulsification using octylamine wasfound to be the best water separation efficiency achieved at 2.5 vol.%Octylamine with (35-65%) W/O emulsion, the separation touched to 90%within 3 days and the greatest oil separation efficiency attained at 2.5 vol.%Octylamine at the same ratio of W/O emulsion, the separation reached 91%within 3 days. The demulsification process efficiency increased bymicrowave, where the water separation rate reached to (100%) at 4 minuteswith (35-65%) W/O emulsion. Light crude oils were used. The fundamentalprinciples of formation, formulation and breaking of O/W emulsions in themicrowave heating process were adequately elucidated using somephysicochemical characterization techniques This further helps in thedevelopment of a cost-effective method of demulsifying the W/O emulsion.Water-in-crude oil emulsions of volume percentage ranges, i.e. (25-75%)and (35-65%) were adopted