What is tar sand
Lexicon> letter O> oil sands
Definition: sand that contains hydrocarbons that can be extracted as unconventional petroleum
More general term: unconventional fossil fuel
English: oil sand
Category: Energy sources
Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta
How to quote; suggest additional literature
Original creation: 08/22/2011; last change: 15.05.2021
Oil sands (also Tar sands called) are fine-grained rocks that contain hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbons are a type of crude oil which, however, cannot simply be pumped out in liquid form, but has to be separated from the oil sands using complex processes. Oil sand deposits are therefore considered to be non-conventionally exploitable oil deposits.
Since the conventional (i.e. that can be extracted using conventional methods) oil deposits are increasingly running out and the price of oil on the world market has already risen considerably, unconventional deposits such as oil sands are becoming increasingly interesting from an economic point of view, even though the production costs are massively higher than, for example, oil deposits in the Middle East or in the North Sea. The total potential of the technically and (if the oil price is high enough) economically recoverable is very high - considerably larger than the remaining conventional deposits. Canada and Venezuela in particular have large deposits.
Oil extraction from oil sands
The extraction of oil sands or tar sands usually takes place in open-cast mining. Here z. In the Canadian province of Alberta, for example, huge areas were dug up and devastated in the process.
Deeper deposits are also exploited using “in situ” methods, in which the hydrocarbons are extracted from the sand underground. Essentially, the bitumen contained is split up by heating the oil sand, making it flowable and then pumped out. Hot steam can be introduced for heating, or part of the material is burnt underground with a supply of air.
Usable crude oil is obtained from the extracted materials in further complex process steps. Important aspects are the separation of sand, the splitting of long-chain hydrocarbons into lighter ones and the separation of harmful substances such as sulfur. Toxic chemicals are also used in large quantities.
The extraction and processing of oil sands consumes large amounts of energy, often in the form of natural gas or by using a substantial part of the extracted crude oil. This means that every liter of unconventional crude oil that can ultimately be used contains a far greater amount of gray energy than conventionally produced crude oil. Correspondingly, the environmental pollution is also much higher - on the one hand due to the high climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions and on the other hand due to the devastation and poisoning of large areas of land in the production areas. In addition, there is a very high water consumption.
Although the previous use of oil sands represents only a small percentage of total global oil production, it is already causing massive environmental problems, especially in Canada. If conventional crude oil, which is gradually running out, is to be replaced on a large scale by such unconventional deposits, the environmental pollution and, in particular, the resulting climatic dangers of crude oil use would increase sharply - instead of decreasing sharply, as is absolutely necessary in the interests of climate protection. If the oil price on the world market continues to rise and remains consistently high, it would become politically more difficult to prevent such a development.
Questions and comments from readers
Here you can suggest questions and comments for publication and answering. The author of the RP-Energie-Lexikon will decide on the acceptance according to certain criteria. In essence, the point is that the matter is of broad interest.
If you receive help here, you might want to return the favor with a donation with which you support the further development of the energy dictionary.
If you would like personal feedback or advice from the author, please write to him by email.
By submitting you give your consent to publish your entries here in accordance with our rules.
See also: crude oil, fossil fuels, climate hazards, gray energy
as well as other articles in the energy source category
- What led to cyberwarfare
- How do we remember verb forms
- What is the identity principle
- Do you feel trapped in your body?
- When is intelligent considered disadvantageous
- How is 7
- How do some seeds become seedless?
- Are the Taliban still controlling Afghanistan?
- How does marijuana affect INTPs
- How to say tree house in Spanish
- What is the dipole moment of BF3
- What is Reykjavik Iceland like to visit
- Why did Juice WRLD have a seizure
- Which hormone is released from the placenta?
- Which DAW has the best stock plugins
- How hairdressers clean their tools
- Why makes you vehement
- What were Indira Gandhi's main achievements
- What is your favorite exercise and why
- You can extend the Bluetooth range
- Is EJB Framework or API
- Why are ergosphere ellipsoidal
- What is the proof of my existence
- What does light skin mean that is wasteful