SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

Thermogravimetry as a Diagnostic Aid to Bench Scale Kentucky Oil Shale Retorting Studies


Compositional analysis by thermogravimetry (TG) was used to determine the moisture, volatile matter (VM), carbon dioxide from carbonate minerals, fixed carbon (FC), and ash from Kentucky oil shale. This analysis provided a rapid method of screening Kentucky oil shale for potential oil yields. The volatile matter released up to 550°C correlated with oil yield as determined by Fischer assay (R2 = 0.918) for 29 samples from a core drilled in Madison County, KY.

Determination of volatile matter and fixed carbon by TG in spent shale samples from both fixed and fluid bed bench scale retorts proved useful in assessing the effects of varying retorting conditions on the chemistry of Kentucky oil shale pyrolysis. Oil yields obtained under a wide range of retorting conditions were inversely related to the ratio of fixed carbon in the spent shale to the fixed carbon in the raw shale (FC ratio). This ratio provided evidence of the magnitude of secondary reactions in oil yield losses during retorting as a function of processing conditions. Release of volatile matter from the shale during retorting depended on the maximum temperature experienced by the shale and the type of reactor used. The FC ratio and the percentage of volatile matter removed from the shale were used to perform retorting diagnostics for the Kentucky Energy Cabinet Laboratory's (KECL) fluid bed oil shale miniplant.

Author Information

Harris, MB
DuPont de Nemours and Co., Inc., Fabricated Products Dept., Specialty Products and Services Division, Instrument Systems, Wilmington, DE
Rubel, AM
Kentucky Energy Cabinet Laboratory, University of Louisville, Lexington, KY
Carter, SD
Kentucky Energy Cabinet Laboratory, University of Louisville, Lexington, KY
Davis, E
Kentucky Energy Cabinet Laboratory, University of Louisville, Lexington, KY
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Developed by Committee: E37
Pages: 216–226
DOI: 10.1520/STP26409S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5066-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1177-6