A variety of analytical methods were used to quantitatively determine polar organic solutes in process retort water and a gas-condensate retort water produced in a modified in situ oil-shale retort. Specific compounds accounting for 50% of the dissolved organic carbon were identified in both retort waters. In the process water, 42% of the dissolved organic carbon consisted of a homologous series of fatty acids from C2 to C10. Dissolved organic carbon percentages for other identified compound classes were as follows: aliphatic dicarboxylic acids, 1.4%; phenols, 2.2%; hydroxypyridines, 1.1%; aliphatic amides, 1.2%. In the gas-condensate retort water, aromatic amines were most abundant at 19.3% of the dissolved organic carbon, followed by phenols (17.8%), nitriles (4.3%), aliphatic alcohols (3.5%), aliphatic ketones (2.4%), and lactones (1.3%). Steam-volatile organic solutes were enriched in the gas-condensate retort water, whereas nonvolatile acids and polyfunctional neutral compounds were predominant organic constituents of the process retort water.
Additional publication details
Determination of polar organic solutes in oil-shale retort water