This study investigated the catalytic effect of NiO, Co3O4 and Fe3O4 nanoparticles toward asphaltene thermal decomposition (pyrolysis) under inert conditions. Asphaltene adsorbed onto the selected nanoparticles were subjected to thermal decomposition up to 800 °C in a thermogravimetric analyzer. The presence of nanoparticles caused a significant decrease in the asphaltene decomposition temperature and activation energy. Activation energies for the process were calculated using the Ozawa–Flynn–Wall method. All the selected metal oxide nanoparticles showed high catalytic activity toward asphaltene decomposition in the following order NiO > Co3O4 > Fe3O4. This study confirms that metal oxide nanoparticles can significantly enhance the thermal decomposition of heavy hydrocarbons, like asphaltenes.
Nassar, NN, Hassan, A, Pereira-Almao, P. 2011. Effect of surface acidity and basicity of aluminas on asphaltene adsorption and oxidation. J Colloid Interface Sci. 360:233–23810.1016/j.jcis.2011.04.056.)| false
Nassar, NN, Hassan, A, Pereira-Almao, P. 2011. Comparative oxidation of adsorbed asphaltenes onto transition metal oxide nanoparticles. Colloids Surf A. 3841–3145–14910.1016/j.colsurfa.2011.03.049.)| false
Nassar, NN, Hassan, A, Pereira-Almao, P. 2011. Application of nanotechnology for heavy oil upgrading: catalytic steam gasification/cracking of asphaltenes. Energy Fuels. 2541566–157010.1021/ef2001772.)| false