Inductive heating assisted‑catalytic dehydrogenation of tetralin as a hydrogen source for downhole catalytic upgrading of heavy oil

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  • University of Nottingham


The Toe-to-Heel Air Injection (THAI) combined with a catalytic add-on (CAPRI, CATalytic upgrading PRocess In-situ) have been a subject of investigation since 2002. The major challenges have been catalyst deactivation due to coke deposition and low temperatures (~ 300 °C) of the mobilised hot oil flowing over the catalyst packing around the horizontal well. Tetralin has been used to suppress coke formation and also improve upgraded oil quality due to its hydrogen-donor capability. Herein, inductive heating (IH) incorporated to the horizontal production well is investigated as one means to resolve the temperature shortfall. The effect of reaction temperature on tetralin dehydrogenation and hydrogen evolution over NiMo/Al 2O 3 catalyst at 250–350 °C, catalyst-to-steel ball ratio (70% v/v), 18 bar and 0.75 h −1 was investigated. As temperature increased from 250 to 350 °C, tetralin conversion increased from 40 to 88% while liberated hydrogen increased from 0.36 to 0.88 mol based on 0.61 mol of tetralin used. The evolved hydrogen in situ hydrogenated unreacted tetralin to trans and cis-decalins with the selectivity of cis-decalin slightly more at 250 °C while at 300–350 °C trans-decalin showed superior selectivity. With IH the catalyst bed temperature was closer to the desired temperature (300 °C) with a mean of 299.2 °C while conventional heating is 294.3 °C. This thermal advantage and the nonthermal effect from electromagnetic field under IH improved catalytic activity and reaction rate, though coke formation increased.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Early online date23 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2019


  • inductive heating, catalytic upgrading, tetralin, hydrogen