Innovative pyrolysis techniques

At Nottingham we have developed a number of innovative pyrolysis approaches that can be used in petroleum geochemistry for the characterisation of organic macromolecules (HyPy), and to further our understanding of oil and gas generation (high liquid water pressure pyrolysis).

Catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy)

Award winning commercial system developed at Nottingham for the characterisation of organic macromolecules

  • Open system pyrolysis assisted by high hydrogen pressure (150 bar) and sulphided molybdenum catalyst
  • Slow heating (8°C/min to 520°C) & reactor gas flow (5 L/min) gives short residence time (seconds) and preserves structural and stereochemical integrity of products
  • Sample size: 10 mg – 3 g
  • Covalent bonds cleaved at low temperatures (<450°C)
    • Breaks C-O, C-S bonds but preserves C-C structure
    • Reduced char formation
  • Original focus of HyPy as an analytical tool to release biomarkers covalently bound within oil asphaltenes and sedimentary rock kerogens
  • Wide range of petroleum geochemical applications
    • Retrace reservoir filling history
    • Drilling mud contamination
    • Characterise oil field solids
    • Biodegraded oils
    • Over mature oils
    • Geobiology

Further details from our manufacturing partner Strata Technology Ltd: HyPy system

Hydrous pyrolysis & high liquid water pressure pyrolysis

We have developed the unique ability to conduct hydrous pyrolysis at pressures of up to 1000 bar of liquid water pressure, and temperatures up to 420°C

  • Undertaking hydrous pyrolysis in the presence of liquid water more closely simulates oil and gas generation in natural basins
  • High liquid water pressure allows for the influence of pressure as well as time and temperature to be investigated
  • High liquid water pressure (>500 bar) shown to retard source rock maturation (as measured by vitrinite reflectance) and hydrocarbon generation and cracking (as shown by reduced oil and gas yields) for a range of kerogen types
  • Leads to improved assessments of shale gas generation potential