Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Briens, Cedric L

2nd Supervisor

Berruti, Franco

Joint Supervisor


In the petroleum industry, Fluid CokerTM are used to upgrade the heaviest remains of heavy oil into useful lighter products such as fuel oil or petrochemical feed. The development of a better injection into a Fluid CokerTM is a key parameter to obtain a more efficient and sustainable use of heavy crude oil. The main detrimental factor in Fluid CokingTM is the formation of agglomerates between the injected oil and the coke particles. These agglomerates not only trap injected oil, not allowing free reaction, but also cause harm to the CokerTM when they fall to the bottom of the vessel, clogging sheds. The control of the injection system, an initial step in agglomerate formation, is essential to mitigate and avoid the binding of coke particles. To reduce agglomerate formation from the source, the determination of a relationship between injection nozzle size and fusing of coke particles was developed. Liquid not trapped in agglomerates can be heated and cracked into lighter hydrocarbons.

In this research smaller nozzles were used to simulate the effect of the commercial sized nozzle in a lab setting. Different sizes were selected to show the effect of nozzle scale on spray characteristics. Water atomized with nitrogen was used as an injection fluid to allow for the visualization of spray characteristics in open air. To predict and explain how different nozzle sizes affect agglomerate formation, the stability, angle, and concentration of the spray during injection were analyzed. For the second part of this research, in-fluidized bed experiments were developed using Gum Arabic as an injection fluid and biding solution, to simulate agglomerate formation and match the viscosity and performance of heavy oils inside of a Fluidized CokerTM.

The open-air experiments provided an overall correlation between the nozzle scaling and the characteristics of the spray. The in-fluidized bed experiments showed the relationship between nozzle size and the quantity and quality of agglomerates formed. These two correlations were combined to form the connection between how the change of spray characteristics effect the formation of agglomerates.