Decomposition of heptylbenzene by supercritical water

Pradip C. Mandal, Tatsuya Shiraishi, Wahyu Diono, Mitsuru Sasaki, Motonobu Goto

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The oil sands are naturally occurring mixtures of sand or clay, water and an extremely dense and viscous form of petroleum called bitumen. Challenges of bitumen production including low mobility, difficulties in transportation to refineries, and limited bitumen refining capacity, make it necessary to upgrade bitumen. There are a number of upgrading processes including carbon rejection, hydrogen addition, and physical separation. The catalytic cracking is the traditional process to convert bitumen into lighter and high value fuels though the catalyst is deactivated in the presence of metals and asphaltenic molecules. The dramatic change of ion product and dielectric constant of water at supercritical condition makes it as acid catalyst. Long-chain n-alkylbenzenes are the simplest chemicals models of the alkyl aromatic moieties. So, in this study, Heptylbenzene (HPB) is used as a model compound and water is used instead of catalyst. The reaction was carried out in a batch reactor made by AKICO. The temperature profile at different molar ratio of HPB and water was observed during the study. The ability of supercritical water (SCW) to decompose alkylbenzene, like heptylbenzene, was also studied at 450 °C and 40 MPa. Heptylbenzene decomposed into light hydrocarbons (like, toluene, ethylbenzene, butylbenzene, propylbenzene etc.), heavy hydrocarbons (like, pyrene, m-terphenyl etc.) and gases under above mentioned conditions. Significant proportions of heptylbenzene were converted during the reaction with SCW. The obtained results suggest that water acts as a chemical reagent above its critical point (374 °C and 22.1 MPa).

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event2009 AIChE Annual Meeting, 09AIChE - Nashville, TN, United States
Duration: 2009 Nov 82009 Nov 13


Conference2009 AIChE Annual Meeting, 09AIChE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNashville, TN


  • Batch reactor
  • Heptylbenzene
  • Supercritcal water


Dive into the research topics of 'Decomposition of heptylbenzene by supercritical water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this