Solvent recovery in solvent deasphalting process for economical vacuum residue upgrading

Seonju Ahn, Sangcheol Shin, Soo Ik Im, Ki Bong Lee, Nam Sun Nho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The solvent deasphalting (SDA) process is a heavy oil upgrading process and used to separate asphaltene, the heaviest and most polar fraction of vacuum residue (VR) of heavy oil, by using density differences, to obtain deasphalted oil (DAO). The SDA process consists of two main stages: asphaltene separation and solvent recovery. Solvent recovery is a key procedure for determining the operating cost of the SDA process, because it uses a considerable amount of costly solvent, the recovery of which consumes huge amounts of energy. In this study, the SDA process was numerically simulated by using three different solvents, propane, n-butane, and isobutane, to examine their effect on the DAO extraction and the effect of the operating temperature and pressure on solvent recovery. The process was designed to contain one extractor, two flash drums, and two steam strippers. The VR was characterized by identifying 15 pseudo-components based on the boiling point distribution, obtained by performing a SIMDIS analysis, and the API gravity of the components. When n-butane was used, the yield of DAO was higher than in the other cases, whereas isobutane showed a similar extraction performance as propane. Solvent recovery was found to increase with temperature and decrease with pressure for all the solvents that were tested and the best results were obtained for propane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalKorean Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • Butane
  • Numerical Simulation
  • Propane
  • Solvent Deasphalting
  • Solvent Recovery
  • Vacuum Residue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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