Biodiesel as an Alternative Solvent to remove Asphaltene Deposits
Due to the harmful effects of typical aromatic solvents, the use of environmentally friendly solvents is being investigated. This paper investigates the use of biodiesel (fatty acid alkyl esters) produced from the transesterification reaction between canola oil and methanol in the presence of potassium hydroxide catalyst as an alternative solvent. The temperatures of the biodiesel investigated were room temperature (22oC), 50oC, 70oC and 90oC whilst the volumes used were 20ml, 30ml and 40ml. The effectiveness of aromatic solvents (benzene, toluene and xylene) was also investigated for comparison with the biodiesel solvent. The results were analyzed via mass analysis and gas chromatography. The analysis showed that biodiesel was not effective at room temperature compared to the aromatics. However, on increasing its temperature above 70oC, it becomes a very effective solvent dissolving more asphaltene than the aromatic solvents. Additionally, a larger volume of biodiesel resulted in greater asphaltene dissolution with few discrepancies.