Design and Operational Procedures for a Locally Made Steam Distillation Apparatus

Raffie Hosein, Rhonda Lewis-Hosein


In Trinidad, oil production started just over 100 years ago and steam flood operations started just under 50 years ago. In steam flood operations, oil recovery by steam distillation can be in the range of 5 to 60 % and therefore requires separate experimental and mathematical studies for accurate steam flood predictions. The steam distillation apparatus required for the experimental study can be quite costly. In order to conduct steam distillation studies in the Petroleum Studies Unit in Trinidad, a steam distillation apparatus was designed, fabricated and tested to perform these studies, as an integral part of the experimental steam flood studies on Trinidad crude oils.
The apparatus consist of a positive displacement pump, a steam generator, a steam distillation cell, a temperature measurement and control system, a back pressure valve and a condensing and liquid collection system. The steam generator and steam distillation cell were fabricated in-house, from stainless steel and were designed to conduct steam distillation studies at a safe working pressure of 4.654 MPa and temperature of 260 °C.  From the operational procedures outlined in this study and from repeat test runs conducted at 100 °C and 260 °C steam distillation results were reproduced with differences of less than ± 4.0 % between the original and repeat runs. Details of the apparatus design and operational procedures from this study can provide a useful guide for other Researchers on crude oil steam distillation studies.

Key words: Steam distillation apparatus; Design; Operational procedures; Oil; Steam; Temperature; Pressure; Trinidad


Steam distillation apparatus; Design; Operational procedures; Oil; Steam; Temperature; Pressure; Trinidad

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