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Technology Commercialization and Partnerships Division

Preparation and use of nano-catalysts for in-situ reaction with kerogen (ANL-IN-11-104)

Disclosed herein are methods for extracting a kerogen-based product from subsurface shale formations

The methods utilize in-situ reaction of kerogen involving liquid phase chemistry at ambient temperatures at pressures for the subsurface shale formation. These methods rely on chemically modifying the shale-bound kerogen to render it mobile using metal particulate catalysts. In the methods disclosed herein a fluid comprising metal is provided to the subsurface shale formation comprising kerogen in an inorganic matrix. A reducing agent is provided to the subsurface shale formation. The kerogen is converted by contacting the kerogen with a metal particulate catalyst formed from the metal; and a mobile kerogen-based product is formed. At least a portion of the mobile kerogen-based product is recovered. The kerogen-derived product can be upgraded to provide commercial products.