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Demonstration of Advanced Technology for Surface Processing of Oil Shale
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The goal of this project is to develop and demonstrate a new surface process technology for oil shale which is simple, clean, and can be commercialized in a shorter time.


Combustion Resources, Inc.


The US Geological Survey has updated their 1989 assessment of the oil shale resources in the Uintah (Utah) and Piceance (Colorado) Basins. The total in-place resource for the Uintah Basin is estimated at 1.32 trillion barrels. This is only slightly lower than the estimated 1.53 trillion barrels for the adjacent Piceance Basin to the east, which is thought to be the richest oil shale deposit in the world. With new technology, these vast western oil shale resources present a major opportunity for reducing oil imports while increasing U.S. security and stability.


Combustion Resources, Inc. is developing a new, Clean Shale Oil Surface (C-SOS) Process with the potential of high processing capacity, on-site oil upgrading to transportation fuels and a near-zero option for carbon dioxide emissions release. Lower costs could be realized with this new technology through process simplicity, use of nearby low-cost fossil fuels for process energy and hydrogen for upgrading , and very low 

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
C-SOS Kiln
C-SOS Kiln

The following tasks were successfully completed:

  • Completed parametric testing to optimize the system for feed particle size, throughput rates, residence time, burner rates, and initial kiln flash temperatures
  • A new patent pending process for an indirect-fired kiln
  • Construction and operation of a five (5) ton per day kiln, yielding data with inert rock fines for process evaluation and scaling
  • Design of pilot plant oil recovery and upgrading units
  • Five-fold reduction in process water use through innovative design
  • Evaluation of a new cryogenic method for removing carbon dioxide from process streams
  • Tests for vegetative growth on alkaline spent shale

Combustion Resources completed the C-SOS pilot-scale facility; initial tests with oil shale were conducted, resulting in preliminary data. This data was presented at the 30th Oil Shale Symposium in Golden, CO 18–22 October, 2010. Results of all Phase II activities were presented at the 31st Oil Shale Symposium in Golden, CO 17-19 October, 2011. The presentations are available below under “Additional Information”.

Current Status

(May 2012)
Combustion Resources has completed all Phase II research and a final technical report has been received.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Contact Information

NETL - Robert Vagnetti ( or 304-285-1334)
Performer - Douglas Smoot ( or 801-370-0654)
If you are unable to reach the above personnel, please contact the content manager.

Additional Information

Demonstration and Commercial Design of the Clean Shale Oil Surface Process [PDF-2.32MB] - Presentation at the 31st International Oil Shale Symposium - October 2011

Clean Shale Oil Surface (C-SOS) Process Pilot Plant [PDF-1.09MB] - Presentation at the 30th International Oil Shale Symposium - October 2010

Model Predictions for the C-SOS Oil Shale Process [PDF-800KB] - Presentation at the 30th International Oil Shale Symposium - October 2010