Oil and Gas Extraction from Kerogen in Oil Shale
The economic and technical viability of JRT’s oil recovery technology using radiofrequency energy was demonstrated in the early 80’s with oil shale; it was intensively tested in a four-year, multi-million dollar commercial scale, pilot program on Texaco oil shale property outside Vernal, Utah. It was a Badger, Raytheon, and Texaco joint venture, known as the “BART Program.” This program was technically overseen by Ray Kasevich while he was Technical Director of BART at Raytheon. He provided several key RF patents for this program. The program demonstrated:
- Energy efficiency. It demonstrated a nearly 5 to 1 energy returned on energy invested (EROI) ratio. This is superior to the EROIs of many of the alternative technologies currently being applied to tight sources of oil and gas.
- High product quality potential. Very high quality, low sulfur content oil was extracted which was similar to high quality Arabian crude without any significant added refining.
- Technological scalability. The Utah project employed a full scale commercial design. Radio frequency antennas were positioned in boreholes at shale depths of up to 200 feet with commercial radio frequency generators transmitting 50,000 watts of energy or less to the downhole antenna to demonstrate and achieve optimum oil recovery temperature at 350 degrees Celsius. Gas production (methane) was continuously produced and quantified during the oil recovery period.
Oil Recovery from Diatomaceous Earth
In 1993 a test program was carried out in California using radiofrequency energy to recover oil from diatomaceous earth. A complete down hole radiofrequency system for low permeability formation was developed. Advanced antenna design was verified and oil recovery was achieved.
Heavy Oil Recovery in Venezuela
In July 2001 Mr. Ray Kasevich was contacted by PDVSA-Intevep, the R&D branch of the Venezuelan National Oil Company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), to discuss the concept of radiofrequency underground heating (RFH) and its possible application for downhole upgrading of Venezuelan heavy oil reservoirs.
Between 2001 and December 2002, a R&D collaboration effort was started to explore the potential opportunities of applying RF heating technology to PDVSA’s heavy oil assets. In March 2002, we visited a field test site located in Nevada, Missouri. During this visit, the state of the development of the RF technology was demonstrated and the plans to apply this technology in Venezuelan heavy oil fields were drawn.
During the rest of 2002, a conceptual design for a field test in the Laguna Reservoir, located at East Maracaibo Lake, was developed. This reservoir is composed of shallow oil, containing sands that cannot be steamed due to possible contamination of nearby aquifers and irruptions to surface. For this reason, RF technology presented as an excellent candidate for the exploitation of this important PDVSA asset. Negotiations for the detailed design, construction and the RF field test plan were in progress until the national strike and the following reorganization of PDVSA stopped these efforts.
Although several commercial attempts have been made to use RF heating in other applications, there is limited use in low bulk density applications, except for food drying (e.g., grains). Literature indicates a “run away” reaction can occur at a late stage in the drying, at high energy/rate of heating applications. This effect is believed to be the onset of torrefaction or pyrolysis and is relatively unexplored, as previous studies have focused on preserving the material properties. Because drying should be rapid, “just-in-time” inventory management may be possible. This could result in considerable storage-cost savings.
Radiofrequency energy has been successfully applied by JRT to locally obtained wood chips to achieve rapid dewatering of the chips in small bulk mass and achieve temperatures in the range of 200 -250 degrees C for torrefaction for energy density enhancement estimates.
Application of RF energy to a special reactor design was preceded by a literature search on all possible RF applications performed by others and dielectric measurements of samples of wood chips obtained from Carbo as well as locally grown chips. The dielectric measurement results helped to better understand the extent possible of the RF absorption of energy by chips as well as aiding in the electromagnetic design of the experimental reactor for heating wood chips by RF energy absorption. Several different reactor designs were explored from the standpoint of efficiency of operation at the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) frequency of 13.56MHz. The optimum design selected after several trial heating runs was compatible with an AD TEC RF generator model AQX 2000EU rated for 2000 watts of continuous RF output power into a 50 ohm load. Diagnostics and temperature measurements were performed with both the HP 8573 Network Analyzer, hand held impedance meter, and fiber optic sensor equipment
A dielectric sample holder or TEM cell is shown below used for dielectric measurements of wood samples.
Key features of an experimental biomass reactor module reactor pictured with internal RF heating pattern are:
- Rapid and continuous RF heating throughout entire reactor volume. Auger may be used for material transport through reactor while applying RF power.
- May employ conventional vapor extraction techniques to efficiently remove liquids and vapor.
- High processing rates and possible heat recycle for higher energy efficiency.
RFH of TCA DNAPL Source Area – Fractured Bedrock- 2003-2011
Use low temperature RFH to accelerate in situ degradation of pure solvent via reduction in thermal half-life from years to days at a target temperature of 50o to 60oC – abatement of the solvent source area in fractured bedrock to cause plume regression and enable monitored natural attenuation of residual impact. Application of this new thermal treatment method beneath an active facility required careful planning and execution to meet project objectives and ensure safety of workers and building occupants- achieved through phased, systematic application and monitoring to document adherence to safety requirements at each level prior to proceeding to the next phase. Antenna design and modular deployment of a four antenna square array in lifts enabled the flexibility necessary to heat over an 80 foot thickness of saturated gneissic bedrock to depths of 100 feet to achieve the volumetric coverage of 11,000 cyds (8,000 cubic meters) to the target temperature of 50 to 60 C. The treatment system includes a network of nine, 30.5-meter deep, 20-cm diameter boreholes, an RF generator, a four-probe transmitter array, and a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system for control and treatment of vapors. The RF heating system employed at the site consists of a 27 Megahertz (MHz) four channel, 20-kilowatt (kW) RF equipment trailer, transmission lines, four water-tight antennae, applicators, and fiber optic thermometry. The antennae are placed in the boreholes and are spaced approximately 4.5 meters apart in a square array. Each antenna was typically 3 meters long and 6.5 centimeters in diameter and received a maximum of 5 kW from the RF generator module. The antennae were placed in eight boreholes at a depth of 30.5 meters in deep open bedrock and produced a vertical and a horizontal electrical field distribution of 4.6 meters. The electrical field generated from the RF heating system simultaneously targeted 860 cubic meters of fractured bedrock. The RF heating system was operated for 36 months at a maximum output of 19 kW
Pre and Post Treatment Contours of Radiofrequency Fractured Bedrock Heating Results (Significant TCA Reductions within contours) near I-91 near Boston after 36 months
Link to Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable Website:
Selective Dielectric Heating of Insect Infested Grain for Improved Economy
The average radiofrequency power delivered to the grain waveform can be considerably reduced through pulse power application. The process of RF heating proposed by JR Technologies is one that generates high level pulsed power at frequencies which result in a significant dielectric property difference between grain and insect. Such differences have been experimentally demonstrated by S.O. Stuart, 1996). The result is a greater rate of heating experienced by the target object such that a lethal temperature is reached before significant heat dissipation in grain can occur. This method has the added advantage of causing heat shock. This is a physiological phenomenon whereby an insect will die quicker at a given temperature if that temperature is reached more rapidly (Beckett and Morton, 2003).
Major advantages for RF are the limited options for alternative rapid disinfestations and the fact that the technology is chemical -free which adds a premium to the product. There is also the added versatility of grain drying. The rough cost estimate using RF at this time is estimated at one to two cents per bushel.
Medical Device Work
A multiple patented microwave urethral catheter involves a miniature, directional antenna array inside a 22F catheter shaft for directing the microwave energy to a specific volume of prostatic tissue to be treated by microwave thermotherapy. BPH treatment by thermal means generally requires temperatures in the 60 – 70 C range, well above hyperthermic temperatures. The critical requirements of proper dosimetry and a precision temperature pattern within the tissue volume or prostatic lobe will be met at reduced power levels as compared to the competition. Power directionality is insured by controlling the sidelobe and backlobe energy using parasitic antenna elements in close proximity to the radiating element connected to the generator. Most of the radiated power will therefore occur in the main beam direction. Measured power and dosimetry requirements are in the 15-25 watt range of transmitter power and 15-30 minutes of application as compared to the published 60 watts for 60 minutes of microwave thermotherapy for BPH treatment. This new directional antenna array design represents a main beam spread of microwave heating power in azimuth of approximately 60 degrees or less as compared to the usual 360 degree spread in azimuth created by conventional magnetic or electric dipoles
The patented technology provides lower transmitter power, precision in establishing heating pattern boundaries without the need for additional cooling requirements greater safety, and lower equipment cost [i.e., smaller] microwave generators. Finally, microwave leakage along the cable connecting the array to the generator is eliminated by a patented choke system built into the antenna. (Systems with microwave leakage make it difficult to define the location of the heating pattern.) Conventional fiber optics and reflected power measurements are employed for temperature sensing and signal feedback to the generator system for power control to insure appropriate prostate temperatures for optimum treatment protocols.