A novel direct method in one-step for catalytic heavy crude oil upgrading using iron oxide nanoparticles

O. Morelos-Santos, A. I. Reyes de la Torre, J. A. Melo-Banda, P. Schacht-Hernández, B. Portales-Martínez, I. Soto-Escalante, M. José-Yacamán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We proposed a direct in situ synthesis method for iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) along with catalytic erformance upgrading of heavy crude oil (HCO). Our method compares the upgrading of a HCO where other iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized by a traditional thermal decomposition method of organometallic compounds in the presence of stabilizing agents and solvents of high boiling points. Furthermore, the in situ nanoparticles were extensively characterized by XRD, Mössbauer spectroscopy and TEM microscopy which confirmed the presence of magnetite and akaganeite phases, with an average diameter of 20−43 nm. Nanoparticles by thermal decomposition method were investigated by XRD, UHR-FE-SEM and HRTEM and showed the formation of magnetite nanoparticles with an average diameter of 6.7 ± 1.4 nm. Subsequently, the nanoparticles were evaluated in a batch reactor using HCO from the Golden Lane of Mexico at 44.1 bar (initial H2 pressure) and 380 °C, for 1 h at 500 rpm. It was observed that, even under hydrogen limited conditions, there are better physicochemical properties in terms of viscosity, API gravity and heavy fractions decrease, for example, the residue conversion was about 20 % and the kinetic model was adjusted to a five lump model. The formation of the iron sulfide phase (FeS) was detected during the analysis of the spent catalyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalCatalysis Today
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • Heavy crude oil
  • Iron oxide
  • Kinetics
  • Nanoparticles in situ
  • Upgrading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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