The efficacy of using zeolitic materials for the removal of nickel (II) and vanadium (IV) ions from solution has been evaluated in order to provide a method for the removal of the metal ions during hydroprocessing of crude oil. Batches of sodium based zeolites with a variety of pore sizes and Si/Al ratios were prepared using standard methods (high causticity solutions and templating agent). Characterisation of the products was carried out using powder X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis to confirm the presence of single zeolitic phases (zeolite A, zeolite X, zeolite Y, sodalite Na8 [AlSiO4]6Cl2 and hydrosodalite Na6 [AlSiO4]6. 6H2O). In a batch exchange process, divalent nickel and tetravalent vanadium ion solutions of concentration range 0.01M - 0.1M were placed in contact with the zeolite samples at 110°C for a period of 24h.
Nickel (II) exchange was found to occur for all the zeolites at concentrations considered. Zeolite X was found to be most efficient at removing nickel from the solutions while zeolite Y was least efficient. Characterisation of zeolite X after ion exchange using powder X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy showed that the structure of the zeolite had been maintained. Simplistic modelling of powder X-ray diffraction data have shown that the nickel ions are preferentially substituted on one of the four sodium sites.
Vanadium (IV) exchange was also found to occur for all the zeolites at the concentrations considered. Zeolite A was found to be most efficient for the vanadium uptake. Characterisation with PXRD, FTIR and SEM-EDS however, shows that in addition to exchange at the zeolite s normal cation exchange sites, a significant amount of framework silicon species were also exchanged by the vanadium ions thus having a destructive effect on the zeolite framework leading to structural collapse.
Ion exchange of the sodium-based zeolites with potassium and lithium showed that the uptake of nickel and vanadium of the zeolites significantly increased compared to the as- synthesised zeolites. Zeolite Y was surface-modified with the APTES ligand and showed a similar trend to that observed for alkali metal-zeolites; showing significantly greater nickel uptake at lower concentrations.
Nickel-tetraphenylporphrin was synthesised as a mimic for the nickel-asphaltenes found in crude oil and an α-hydrogen donor solvent used to remove the nickel in the presence of zeolite ion exchangers. A similar trend was observed to that seen in aqueous solution, implying the process would be transferrable to a live medium.
Analysis to determine the metal ions present in ashed Nigerian crude samples before and after solvent and/or complexing agent extraction was carried out using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICPMS) and energy fluorescence analysis by X-rays (XRF). The process showed varying amounts of nickel was extracted by the different media along with iron. For nickel, the extent of extraction in the order of increasing % extraction is H2O˂H3PO4˂EDTA˂IPA. For iron the order of increasing % extraction was H2O=EDTA˂H3PO4˂CH3OH while zinc extraction was in the order H2O˂H3PO4 ˂CH3OH=EDTA.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.