New information about Raytheon’s system of in-situ RF (radio frequency, microwave heating) combined with injected CF (critical fluids, namely CO2) indicates a high degree of efficiency in the extraction of marketable oil from a broad spectrum of oil shale, oilsands and old conventional wells with minimal environmental impact..

Raytheon is in the process of explaining and demonstrating its system to a number of industry firms who pay fees and sign confidentiality agreements… The prospective licensees are provided with a full day of time for however many of their people they wish to bring to Raytheon’s laboratory in Tewksbury, MA. says a spokesman for the RF/CF program. During the meetings, full disclosure of the technology and patent position are provided…

The interested firms are encouraged to bring samples of oil bearing material which are subjected to the RF/CF process that day. Resulting extracted oil is returned to the parties for their own analysis when they leave… An interesting example is an oil bearing rock offered for analysis that is so heavily laden with oil that when the sample is put on a flat surface at room temperature, less than a day later a puddle of oil surrounds it.. The sample is said to be from a large deposit in an undisclosed region… The Raytheon spokesman says relatively little in situ heating and CO2 injection is required to extract this oil…

Raytheon explains that the ratio of total energy in vs. useful oil energy out ranges from about 1:5 to about 1:20 for the various qualities of oil bearing shale , oilsands and oil in old conventional well . Typical oil shale is at the 1: 5 end of the efficiency range while oil from old wells can be 1:20. . The economic advantage can be substantial for countries with resources of heavy oil that now pay the market price (effectively set by OPEC) for imported oil.

Raytheon says the RF/CF system requires no process water and sequesters CO2 otherwise discharged by gas powered engine/generators that supply electric current to in-situ heaters. Injected CO2 acts as a solvent for the oil and greatly reduces the time and temperature requirements for heavy oil recovery. Injected CO2 fills in spaces left from oil extraction.

Raytheon says that for high oil content material, the RF/CF system can pay back its first cost very quickly.

Interested firms have come from several parts of the world… Raytheon does not intend to enter the oil business but rather is seeking to sell the technology which, to a great degree, is based on the firm’s extensive work with military microwave systems…

The RF/CF system appears to have excellent potential in the Alberta, Canada oilsands territory where current technology large scale use of water for steam processing to release oil, large facilities, and strip mining have stretched the limits of environmental acceptance. It also seems likely that a number of locations outside the US may be leaders with RF/CF based oil production due to US permitting time delays even though US Departments of Defense and Interior Departments are seeking to expedite domestic oil supply for national security reasons. US environmental activists, however, have reportedly indicated intentions to question shale oil development. In the Rocky Mountain West, one activist group, Western Resource Alliance, is reported to be seeking information from the US Bureau of Land Management ahead of BLM’s release of its report on environmental impact of proposed shale oil recovery projects.

About the author: Bob Brooks is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and a long time automotive journalist specializing in powertrain and fuels..

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Sun. June 16th, 2024

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