Skip to comments.Microwaves extract tough-to-reach oil
Posted on 09/17/2006 6:33:24 PM PDT by thackney
If oil is the gold of the modern economy, then Frank Pringle is a 21st-century alchemist.
Instead of turning base materials into gold, Pringle turns them into oil. His philosopher's stone turns out to be microwaves. Used in a vacuum chamber, the microwaves help him pull oil from tires or oil shale rock. He can turn oil as thick as molasses into free-flowing crude. And he believes he can extract much of the oil remaining in capped wells.
Geologists said about 65 percent of oil in the ground is unrecoverable with current technology because it is too thick. Deposits of tar sands in Canada, for example, contain billions of barrels of oil but require large amounts of water and energy to extract.
State environmental officials said they believe as many as 237,000 abandoned oil wells are in northwestern Pennsylvania. That is where Col. Edwin Drake drilled what is believed to be the country's first commercial oil well in Titusville, Crawford County, in 1859. Oil production in Pennsylvania peaked in 1891, and the industry moved to Texas and elsewhere.
Pringle is raising $15 million to do his first test well in the Keystone State. He has raised a few million and plans to seek more from private investors. His plan calls for putting an antenna into the old wells and blasting them with microwaves to soften and gasify the oil.
No water would be required, and he said the amount of energy used in the process, the so-called energy balance, will be economical. The process will be environmentally clean, he said.
"It has to do with the frequency, and it has to do with the vacuum," Pringle said. "That's where our patents are."
Or will be, he said. Mobilestream has begun the patent process but hasn't yet received one.
Pringle and his staff of seven scientists continue to test and refine the process at their laboratory in West Berlin, N.J. He is also conferring with Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Environmental Protection about state financial incentives for a tire reprocessing plant he hopes to build at the former U.S. Steel site in Fairless Hills, Bucks County.
In a series of tests witnessed by a Patriot-News reporter on Aug. 31, Pringle extracted oil from shredded tires. He turned Valero slurry oil, which is pourable but thick, like cold Hershey's chocolate syrup, into lighter, useable oil. And he pulled oil from tan, slightly greasy-feeling oil shale rock from Estonia.
Not long afterward, Mobilestream announced it had successfully cracked resid oil, the heavy, tarlike substance that remains after the refining of crude oil. Tests in the company's mass spectrometer confirmed the results.
Pringle placed the substances in a beaker and set them in his vacuum chamber microwave, which looks somewhat like a home microwave but is far different. There are millions of microwave frequencies, and the key is to find the right ones for the right materials, he said.
Once the calculations are made and the microwave turned on, he sat back in a comfortable chair with his ever-present cigar. Pringle, 63, whose office contains ocean fishing rods and a military weapon collection, has been a mechanical engineer for all of his working life.
This guy should be a Freeper.
It is, interesting. One question, though. We can find/extract more oil, but it we can't refine more oil, then what?
This idea is actually closely-related to what Shell is working on for their oil shale extraction program. If they can make it economical supposedly pumped-out oilfields could become productive again. In short, the march of technology could hurt OPEC down the road.
We could nearly triple our domestic oil production and not meet the capacity of our existing refineries. But we would be refining US crude instead of crude oil that pays royalty and taxes to our enemies.
Wow! I love the possibilities.
But we still need to diversify the geography of our refining capacity. We came very close last year to having both the New Orleans and Houston refineries out due to hurricanes. Adding more gulf coast refineries doesn't do anything to diverisify against risk of natural disasters disrupting product supply.
How does the energy input compare with the oil extract?
A group has been trying to bring a refinery to fruition in Yuma for four or five years now. Latest setback was Mexico saying they could no longer guarantee oil for the refinery so it will have to be brought by pipeline and ship from Canada (and much greater cost).
That is the part I like the best.. return to refining our own oil.
Considering the amounts of fresh water needed by refineries, I don't think Arizona would be a good place for one. They are usually located on sea coasts near rivers so they can take advantage of low shipping costs and fresh water nearby.
Don't buy into all the media hype. We do need to add refining capabilities and in more than one area. But we have refining in most areas of the US.
He sounds a lot like one of my uncles.
Not a lot of detail given, but the subject was touched upon.
the amount of energy used in the process, the so-called energy balance, will be economical
|Rank||COMPANY NAME||STATE||SITE||Barrels per Calendar Day|
|1||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||Texas||BAYTOWN||562,500|
|2||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||Louisiana||BATON ROUGE||501,000|
|3||BP PRODUCTS NORTH AMERICA INC||Texas||TEXAS CITY||437,000|
|4||CITGO PETROLEUM CORP||Louisiana||LAKE CHARLES||429,500|
|5||BP PRODUCTS NORTH AMERICA INC||Indiana||WHITING||410,000|
|6||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||Texas||BEAUMONT||348,500|
|7||SUNOCO INC (R&M)||Pennsylvania||PHILADELPHIA||335,000|
|8||DEER PARK REFINING LTD PARTNERSHIP||Texas||DEER PARK||333,700|
|9||CHEVRON USA INC||Mississippi||PASCAGOULA||330,000|
|10||CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY||Illinois||WOOD RIVER||306,000|
|11||Flint Hills Resources LP||Texas||CORPUS CHRISTI||288,126|
|12||Motiva Enterprises LLC||Texas||PORT ARTHUR||285,000|
|13||Flint Hills Resources LP||Minnesota||SAINT PAUL||279,300|
|14||LYONDELL CITGO REFINING CO LTD||Texas||HOUSTON||270,200|
|15||BP West Coast Products LLC||California||LOS ANGELES||260,000|
|16||CHEVRON USA INC||California||EL SEGUNDO||260,000|
|17||PREMCOR REFINING GROUP INC||Texas||PORT ARTHUR||260,000|
|18||CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY||Louisiana||BELLE CHASSE||247,000|
|20||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Louisiana||GARYVILLE||245,000|
|21||CHEVRON USA INC||California||RICHMOND||242,901|
|23||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||Illinois||JOLIET||238,500|
|24||CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY||New Jersey||LINDEN||238,000|
|25||Motiva Enterprises LLC||Louisiana||CONVENT||235,000|
|26||TOTAL PETROCHEMICALS INC||Texas||PORT ARTHUR||232,000|
|27||Motiva Enterprises LLC||Louisiana||NORCO||226,500|
|28||BP West Coast Products LLC||Washington||FERNDALE (CHERRY POINT)||225,000|
|29||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Kentucky||CATLETTSBURG||222,000|
|30||VALERO REFINING CO TEXAS||Texas||TEXAS CITY||213,750|
|31||FLINT HILLS RESOURCES ALASKA LLC||Alaska||NORTH POLE||210,000|
|32||CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY||Oklahoma||PONCA CITY||194,000|
|33||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Illinois||ROBINSON||192,000|
|34||Chalmette Refining LLC||Louisiana||CHALMETTE||188,160|
|35||VALERO REFINING NEW ORLEANS LLC||Louisiana||NORCO||185,003|
|37||PREMCOR REFINING GROUP INC||Delaware||DELAWARE CITY||181,500|
PREMCOR REFINING GROUP INC
|39||SUNOCO INC||Pennsylvania||MARCUS HOOK||175,000|
|40||PDV Midwest Refining LLC||Illinois||LEMONT (CHICAGO)||167,000|
|41||TESORO REFINING & MARKETING CO||California||MARTINEZ||166,000|
|43||VALERO REFINING CO NEW JERSEY||New Jersey||PAULSBORO||160,000|
|44||VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION||Texas||SUNRAY||158,327|
|45||CITGO REFINING & CHEMICAL INC||Texas||CORPUS CHRISTI||156,000|
|46||Shell Oil Products US||California||MARTINEZ||155,600|
|47||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||California||TORRANCE||149,500|
|48||PREMCOR REFINING GROUP INC||Ohio||LIMA||146,900|
|50||Shell Oil Products US||Washington||ANACORTES||145,000|
|51||SUNOCO INC||New Jersey||WESTVILLE||145,000|
|52||VALERO REFINING CO CALIFORNIA||California||BENICIA||144,000|
|53||VALERO REFINING CO TEXAS||Texas||CORPUS CHRISTI||142,000|
|55||BP PRODUCTS NORTH AMERICA INC||Ohio||TOLEDO||131,000|
|56||MURPHY OIL USA INC||Louisiana||MERAUX||120,000|
|57||Tesoro West Coast||Washington||ANACORTES||120,000|
|58||WESTERN REFINING COMPANY LP||Texas||EL PASO||116,000|
|59||COFFEYVILLE RESOURCES LLC||Kansas||COFFEYVILLE||112,000|
|60||FRONTIER EL DORADO REFINING CO||Kansas||EL DORADO||106,000|
|61||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Michigan||DETROIT||100,000|
|62||PASADENA REFINING SYSTEMS INC||Texas||PASADENA||100,000|
|63||Shell Oil Products US||California||WILMINGTON||98,500|
|65||TESORO HAWAII CORP||Hawaii||KAPOLEI||93,500|
|66||VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION||Texas||THREE RIVERS||90,000|
|68||VALERO REFINING CO OKLAHOMA||Oklahoma||ARDMORE||83,640|
|69||VALERO REFINING CO TEXAS||Texas||HOUSTON||83,000|
|72||CHEVRON USA INC||New Jersey||PERTH AMBOY||80,000|
|73||Shell Chem LP||Alabama||SARALAND||80,000|
|74||VALERO REFINING CO LOUISIANA||Louisiana||KROTZ SPRINGS||80,000|
|76||NAVAJO REFINING CO||New Mexico||ARTESIA||75,000|
|77||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Ohio||CANTON||73,000|
|78||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Texas||TEXAS CITY||72,000|
|79||TESORO PETROLEUM CORP||Alaska||KENAI||72,000|
|80||SINCLAIR OIL CORP||Oklahoma||TULSA||70,300|
|81||LION OIL CO||Arkansas||EL DORADO||70,000|
|82||MARATHON PETROLEUM CO LLC||Minnesota||SAINT PAUL PARK||70,000|
|83||ALON USA ENERGY INC||Texas||BIG SPRING||67,000|
|84||BIG WEST OF CALIFORNIA||California||BAKERSFIELD||66,000|
|85||SINCLAIR OIL CORP||Wyoming||SINCLAIR||66,000|
|86||UNITED REFINING CO||Pennsylvania||WARREN||65,000|
|87||SUNCOR ENERGY (USA) INC||Colorado||COMMERCE CITY||62,000|
|88||EXXONMOBIL REFINING & SUPPLY CO||Montana||BILLINGS||60,000|
|89||GIANT YORKTOWN REFINING||Virginia||YORKTOWN||58,600|
|91||DELEK REFINING LTD||Texas||TYLER||58,000|
|92||Tesoro West Coast||North Dakota||MANDAN||58,000|
|93||Tesoro West Coast||Utah||SALT LAKE CITY||58,000|
|94||PLACID REFINING CO||Louisiana||PORT ALLEN||56,000|
|95||Cenex Harvest States Coop||Montana||LAUREL||55,000|
|96||Shell Chem LP||Louisiana||SAINT ROSE||55,000|
|97||CHEVRON USA INC||Hawaii||HONOLULU||54,000|
|98||WYNNEWOOD REFINING CO||Oklahoma||WYNNEWOOD||54,000|
|99||PARAMOUNT PETROLEUM CORPORATION||California||PARAMOUNT||50,000|
|100||PETRO STAR INC||Alaska||VALDEZ||48,000|
|101||FRONTIER REFINING INC||Wyoming||CHEYENNE||47,000|
|102||CHEVRON USA INC||Utah||SALT LAKE CITY||45,000|
|103||CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY||California||ARROYO GRANDE||44,200|
|104||CALUMET SHREVEPORT LLC||Louisiana||SHREVEPORT||42,000|
|105||US OIL & REFINING CO||Washington||TACOMA||37,850|
|106||HUNT REFINING CO||Alabama||TUSCALOOSA||34,500|
|107||MURPHY OIL USA INC||Wisconsin||SUPERIOR||34,300|
|108||CITGO ASPHALT REFINING CO||New Jersey||PAULSBORO||32,000|
|110||CALCASIEU REFINING CO||Louisiana||LAKE CHARLES||30,000|
|111||BIG WEST OIL CO||Utah||NORTH SALT LAKE||29,400|
|112||CITGO ASPHALT REFINING CO||Georgia||SAVANNAH||28,000|
|113||EDGINGTON OIL CO INC||California||LONG BEACH||26,000|
|114||KERN OIL & REFINING CO||California||BAKERSFIELD||26,000|
|115||HOLLY CORP REFINING & MARKETING||Utah||WOODS CROSS||24,700|
|116||LITTLE AMERICA REFINING CO||Wyoming||EVANSVILLE (CASPER)||24,500|
|117||COUNTRYMARK COOPERATIVE INC||Indiana||MOUNT VERNON||23,000|
|118||ERGON REFINING INC||Mississippi||VICKSBURG||23,000|
|119||GIANT REFINING CO||New Mexico||GALLUP||20,800|
|120||ERGON WEST VIRGINIA INC||West Virginia||NEWELL (CONGO)||20,000|
|121||PETRO STAR INC||Alaska||NORTH POLE||17,000|
|122||GIANT INDUSTRIES INC||New Mexico||BLOOMFIELD||16,800|
|123||GULF ATLANTIC OPERATIONS LLC||Alabama||MOBILE||16,700|
|124||SAN JOAQUIN REFINING CO INC||California||BAKERSFIELD||15,000|
|125||CONOCOPHILLIPS ALASKA INC||Alaska||KUPARUK||14,000|
|126||CALUMET LUBRICANTS CO LP||Louisiana||COTTON VALLEY||13,020|
|127||BP EXPLORATION ALASKA INC||Alaska||PRUDHOE BAY||12,500|
|128||WYOMING REFINING CO||Wyoming||NEWCASTLE||12,500|
|129||AGE REFINING INC||Texas||SAN ANTONIO||12,200|
|130||HUNT SOUTHLAND REFINING CO||Mississippi||SANDERSVILLE||11,000|
|131||Silver Eagle Refining||Utah||WOODS CROSS||10,250|
|132||AMERICAN REFINING GROUP INC||Pennsylvania||BRADFORD||10,000|
|133||Greka Energy||California||SANTA MARIA||9,500|
|134||LUNDAY THAGARD CO||California||SOUTH GATE||8,500|
|135||CALUMET LUBRICANTS CO LP||Louisiana||PRINCETON||8,300|
|136||MONTANA REFINING CO||Montana||GREAT FALLS||8,200|
|137||CROSS OIL REFINING & MARKETING INC||Arkansas||SMACKOVER||7,200|
|138||VALERO REFINING CO CALIFORNIA||California||WILMINGTON||6,200|
|139||HUNT SOUTHLAND REFINING CO||Mississippi||LUMBERTON||5,800|
|140||SOMERSET REFINERY INC||Kentucky||SOMERSET||5,500|
|141||GOODWAY REFINING LLC||Alabama||ATMORE||4,100|
|142||Silver Eagle Refining||Wyoming||EVANSTON||3,000|
|144||FORELAND REFINING CORP||Nevada||EAGLE SPRINGS||2,000|
Source: Refinery Capacity Data by individual refinery as of January 1, 2006
Just in case... ;)
Frequency I understand, and vacuum in a laboratory is no problem, but how do you pull a vacuum (how much of a vacuum?) in an underground area the size of an oil well ?
With a vaccuum pump. A big one. That sucks, and is supposed to. The RF Noise sucks louder.
Ship it to Europe and the Carib, have them refine it and send it back.
Great, now the enviros can complain about stray microwaves frying us all.
Yuma is where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of California. Water isn't an issue for the project.
And that is more affordable than doing it here?
O.K., I asked for that. What I really was wondering is, whether most oil wells are that much of a "closed system", without "cracks" and passages wandering off in all directions that would make it impractical to pull a serious vacuum?
ping for later
Except that every drop of the Colorado River is overallocated.
Some days you can pull a large vacuum. Some days, you can't. Most days you can.
A somewhat related subject : growing mounds of old rubber tires. Once in a Popular Science(or Mechanics)article, I read about a couple of guys down south somewhere that had worked out this process : cut the tires up into small chunks, then drop them into a bath of liquid lead. The steel cords drop to the bottom and the rubber molecules, as froth, come to the top. Thus you skim off the froth as feed stock for new tires. Sounded like it might work as a rubber tire recycling process, instead of just burying them in these ever growing mountains of old tires. Recycling old tires, like old oil fields is GREAT, if it's economically viable. Does anyone here know any thing more about this idea?
-3 psi would pull this house to the ground. With malice aforethought. Here and now sux, but not that badly.
/johnny (happily single for several years)
Yes there is. Search "microwave oil shale" and you will find some companies working on tires as well as shale.
Thanks, I will. It's always ticked me off to have to pay $1 to just GET RID of an old tire when they should be either taking it away for free or paying you something like 25 cents for it. Some people grumble about these "tire mountains" as eyesores and mosquito breeding grounds but "microwave oil shale", as it refers to rubber tires, still has to be viable economically to work. Don't expect santa claus, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny to solve the problem for FREE.....Do you know about RIS(Resonant Ionization Spectroscopy)? It does with precisely tuned lasars/wavelengths just about what MOS technology does to "dead oil". It converts garbage into pure isotopes.
It is interesting. And it is more evidence that Yankee ingenuity will prevail, *if* the idiot guberment will just quit getting in the way.
The Gulf of California isn't complaining, yet
Geez. If commercial quantities of oil could be recovered from a majority of those wells, I would think we'd be looking at some significant reserves. Particularly if we extapolate that to include abandoned wells in the rest of the country.
Careful. Rubber, as in tires, is a vulcanized product, and is not able to be recycled back into rubber for new tires. Rubber is actually a Thermoset Plastic, rather than a Thermoplastic Plastic.
That means that as it is heated or aged, it becomes harder and harder, until it is brittle and useless for nothing but landfill.
Here's a simplified version of the process of making tires:
Raw Latex rubber (a milky coloured sticky mass like pine sap) is put in a mixer (called a mill) and mixed with chemicals (yellow sulfur, carbon-black, and other stuff) to form a less-sticky, soft, black substance.
That stuff (a measured amount) is then placed in a mold that has the shape of a tire.
The mold is heated to about 650 degrees F for a while, and vulcanization (solidification)begins.
The mold is then cooled quickly after a specified time, to room temperature, and the tire is removed for use. It's soft or hard, depending on the time spent at the hot temperature - short time=soft, long time=hard.
Vulcanization, once started, never stops, but only slows down. After about 20-30 years, a brand new tire is useless, because it will have hardened to being brittle.
That's why old tires get cracks in them, and the process cannot be reversed. Hope this helps............FRegards
Yellow sulfur-primary vulcanization agent
Carbon Black-UV protection, and it looks cool
They had to replace the road after 5 years.............FRegards
But not the Gulf of California and they have a desalinization plant, that they don't use, in Yuma to desalt the Colorado River.
Thanks so much for the info, I KNEW I'm not an expert on rubber tires. Have you heard about this new "memory metal" discovery : a rubber-metal alloy with the same properties as the crash debris found at the Roswell UFO crash site?
In addition : in 1970 I spent winter quarter with my fellow architecture students in mexico. Funniest sight : brand new retread tires on all the cars but the SIDEWALLS were rotted down to the cords. The mexican government had decreed that NO foreign(american/others)rubber tires could be sold in mexico, HOPING that they could make their own rubber tires/industry. Mexican INDIANS competing with american/european/japanese engineering genius??!! Thus they had Taller retread stations all over the place : brand new retreads and rotted away sidewalls was all they had. Hydrogen and stupidity : the 2 most common elements in the universe....
Rubber and metal can't form an 'alloy'. You can powder the metal, then mix it with a variety of hydrocarbon compounds, like the flexible rubber magnets on the fridge, but a true alloy just ain't possible.
I've seen 'memory-metal', though. Wierd stuff.................FRegards
Dang! All I got to tell y'all is whatever you do don't cut a bike tire up and try cooking it in a bowl in your microwave thinking you'll get oil. It don't work, even when you cut a hole in the top and stick a vacuum hose in. It just makes an awful mess and you can't hardly put that tire out when it catches fire.
Well, it was a brief article in either Popular Science or Mechanics. From what they describe, it has exactly the same characteristics described by Jesse Martel's son, who saw it in Roswell in 1947 : cigarette can't burn a hole thru it, can't cut it with scissors, wad it up like tinfoil and it doesn't crease, it just springs back to flat. Obviously no HUMAN was making this "memory metal"/rubber-metal alloy in 1947; ergo, it's alien technology, used by them for millenia. There is far more that we've discovered but I can't tell you about it here...
Pyrite, hematite, limonite, ilmenite, rutile...Could be interesting down there. Hope he choses his formations carefully or the accessory minerals might make things difficult. Worth keeping tabs on, though. Thanks, thackney.
Note: this topic is from 9/17/2006.Thanks thackney.
State environmental officials said they believe as many as 237,000 abandoned oil wells are in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Long ways away from the days of the gusher when the oil flow is so little they call it a micro wave.
I suspect the vacuum would be for the magnetron or klystron tube, or whatever they're using down the hole to create the microwaves. The hole won't need a vacuum any more than your household microwave does, but the equipment to create them seemingly does. I think the down-hole pressure will be the problem.
I'm not aware that large quantities of fresh water are required by refineries. There are a large number of refining centers located in relatively arid country -- e.g., Artesia, NM, Borger, TX, Big Spring, TX, Cushing, OK, Tulsa, OK, Salt Lake City, UT, El Dorado, KS etc.
By and large, refineries are located near where the oil is (or was). The concentration on the Gulf Coast is likely attributable to import (now) and export (then) needs.