• oil shale/tar sands;
  • petroleum;
  • reaction kinetics


There are significant resources of oil shale in the western United States, which if exploited in an environmentally responsible manner would provide secure access to transportation fuels. Understanding the kinetics of kerogen decomposition to oil is critical to designing a viable process. A dataset of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) of the Green River oil shale is provided and two distinct data analysis approaches—advanced isoconversional method and parameter fitting are used to analyze the data. Activation energy distributions with conversion calculated using the isoconversional method (along with uncertainties) ranged between 93 and 245 kJ/mol. Root mean square errors between the model and experimental data were the lowest for the isoconversional method, but the distributed reactivity models also produced reasonable results. When using parameter fitting approaches, a number of models produce similar results making model choice difficult. Advanced isoconversional method is better in this regard, but maybe applicable to a limited number of reaction pathways. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012