Geochemical conditions influence vanadium, nickel, and molybdenum release from oil sands fluid petroleum coke
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Petroleum coke is a potential source of vanadium (V), nickel (Ni), and molybdenum (Mo) to water resources in Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of northern Alberta, Canada. Large stockpiles of this bitumen upgrading byproduct will be incorporated into mine closure landscapes and understanding the processes and conditions controlling the release and transport of these transition metals is critical for effective reclamation. We performed a series of laboratory column experiments to quantify V, Ni, and Mo release from fluid petroleum coke receiving meteoric water (MW), oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), and acid rock drainage (ARD) influents. We found that influent water chemistry strongly influences metal release, with variations among metals largely attributed to pH-dependent aqueous speciation and surface reactions. Cumulative V, Ni, and Mo mass release was greatest for columns receiving the low-pH ARD influent. Additionally, cumulative V and Mo mass release were greater in columns receiving OSPW compared to MW influent, whereas cumulative Ni mass release was greater in columns receiving MW compared to OSPW influent. Nevertheless, only a small proportion of total V, Ni, and Mo was released during the experiments, with the majority occurring during the first 10 pore volumes (PVs). This study offers insight into geochemical controls on V, Ni, and Mo release from fluid petroleum coke that supports ongoing development of oil sands mine reclamation strategies for landscapes that contain petroleum coke.
CitationAbdolahnezhad, M. & Lindsay, M.B.J. (2022). Geochemical conditions influence vanadium, nickel, and molybdenum release from oil sands fluid petroleum coke. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 245: 103955–103955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2022.103955
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