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Encyclopedia > Orimulsion

Orimulsion® is a registered trademark name for a bitumen-based fuel that was developed for industrial use by Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA, following earlier collaboration on oil emulsions withBritish Petroleum (BP). The bitumen occurs naturally and is obtained from the world's largest deposit in the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela. Reserves are estimated at more than 1.2 trillion barrels (190,000,000 m³) of bitumen, an amount greater than 50% of the world's estimated oil reserves. Bitumen Bitumen is a category of organic liquids which are highly viscous, black, sticky and wholly soluble in carbon disulfide. ... Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) is the Venezuelan nationally owned petroleum company. ... This article is about the corporation known as BP. See also BP (disambiguation) BP (formerly British Petroleum and briefly known as BP Amoco) (NYSE: BP) is a petroleum company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. ... See Barrel for other uses. ...


Raw bitumen has an extremely high viscosity at ambient temperatures and is unsuitable for direct use in conventional power stations. Orimulsion is made by mixing the bitumen with about 30% fresh water and a small amount of surfactant. The result behaves similarly to fuel oil. An alcohol-based surfactant recently replaced the original phenol-based version; improving the transport properties of the fuel and eliminating the health concerns associated with the phenol group of surfactants. Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid to deformation under shear stress. ... Surfactants, also known as wetting agents, lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and the interfacial tension between two liquids. ... In general usage, alcohol (from Arabic al-khwl الكحول, or al-ghawl الغول) refers almost always to ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, and often to any beverage that contains ethanol (see alcoholic beverage). ... Phenol, also known under the old name carbolic acid, is a colorless crystalline solid with a typical sweet tarry odor. ...


As a fuel for electricity generation, Orimulsion has a number of attractive characteristics:

  • the known reserves of bitumen are very large;
  • it is currently priced to be competitive with internationally traded coal;
  • it is relatively easy and safe to produce, transport, handle and store;
  • it is easy to ignite and has good combustion characteristics;
  • it can be used in power stations designed to run on coal or heavy fuel oil, with suitable modification.

Orimulsion is currently used as a commercial boiler fuel in power plants worldwide (e.g., Canada, Denmark, Japan, Italy, Lithuania, and China).


Air pollutant control technology that is commonly available can limit emissions from Orimulsion to levels considered "Best Available Control Technology," as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Best Available Control Technology (BACT) is an emission limitation based on the maximum degree of reduction for each regulated air pollutant emitted from or that results from any new or modified stationary source. ... EPA redirects here. ...


 
 

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