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Energy & Fuels


Immature Type II kerogen (HI= 660 mg/g) from the Lower Toarcian of the Paris Basin was separated into an alginite concentrate (HI = 952 mg/g) and an amorphous organic matter (AOM) concentrate (HI = 573 mg/g) by density centrifugation. The flash pyrolyzate of the alginite is characterized by high relative concentrations of several series of n-alkanones and n-alkenones (including mid-chain alkyl ketones), in addition to n-alkanes, n-alk-1-enes and n-alkadienes. To our knowledge, this Toarcian alginite is the oldest example of marine organic matter whose pyrolyzate contains mid-chain alkanones in such high relative concentrations. In sharp contrast, the AOM produced predominantly alkylbenzenes, alkylthiophenes, n-alkanes and n-alk-1-enes upon pyrolysis. Micro-FTIR spectroscopy indicated that the alginite was enriched in aliphatic C-H (particularly CH2) and depleted in aromatic C=C, relative to the AOM, consistent with the pyrolysis results. Aliquots of the concentrates were heated separately in gold tubes (24 h, 70 MPa) at fixed temperatures ranging between 250 and 375°C. Yields of liquid products as a function of temperature were initially greater for the AOM, reaching a maximum at 325°C. In contrast, the alginite yielded little liquid product at low temperatures, attaining its maximum at 350°C, at which temperature its yield greatly surpassed that of the AOM. This kerogen is a heterogeneous assemblage of fossil organic matter, exhibiting different degrees of preservation and petroleum potential. The alginite is fossilized marine algaenans with alkyl chains cross-linked by ether bridges, while the AOM component is at least in part a "geopolymer" with thioether linkages, the thermally labile nature of which is responsible for its lower temperature peak liquid generation. It is evident that the alginite concentrate is chemically distinct from its companion AOM in this kerogen and that the full extent of its uniqueness would not have been revealed without the density separation step.



Published Citation

Kruge M. A., Landais P., Bensley D. F., Stankiewicz B. A., Elie M., Ruau O. (1997) Separation and artificial maturation of macerals from Type II kerogen. Energy & Fuels 11:503-514.