The PetroBeam technology is based on the fundamentals of electron beam (“e-beam”) processing, which is exposing a material to a directed shower of electrons generated from an accelerator similar to those used to treat cancer patients. E-beam processing is a versatile, industrial alternative to conventional thermal and thermal catalytic processing. E-beam processing is approved by USDA for food treatment and by FDA for the manufacture and sterilization of medical devices. E-Beam processing has a fifty year history of industrial success in a wide range of applications. E-beam processing is safe and economical and has been used in a wide range of commercial applications for many decades, including medical equipment sterilization, food pasteurization, vulcanization of rubber, and crosslinking of plastics. Global market leaders made their shift from chemical and thermal processing to e-beam processing because of its clear environmental and economic advantages.

PetroBeam is migrating this well established industrial process, applying it to the midstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry. The PetroBeam process consists of using high-energy electrons to effectively initiate hydrocarbon cracking reactions. This proprietary process cracks even the most difficult component of crude oil – asphaltenes. As a result, the molecular weight of the feedstock shifts favorably toward the lighter fractions causing a reduction in density and viscosity.

The Company’s technology has been studied and researched by its scientists for over 15 years. Laboratory scale tests have shown that heavy components, such as asphaltenes, in crude oil and bitumen are disrupted and partially decomposed by e-beam processing. The products of these e-beam induced reactions tend toward lower boiling components, i.e. heavy hydrocarbon cracking, and not polymerization. In these non-optimized experiments, on average, 30% of the asphaltene material was converted to lighter components.

The Company has been working in partnership with IBA to develop the commercialization plans for a $30 million 10,000 bbl/d facility. The primary component of the facility is the electron beam accelerator, the TT1000 Rhodotron® produced by IBA. At full power, it consumes 1,250 kW (or 0.125 kw per bbl/d). The total capital cost is estimated at $3,000 per bbl/d of capacity. Operational costs are lower compared to thermal processes. Labor costs are less than or equal to thermal projects. The start-up time of the system is very short, requiring no warm-up process. A 10,000 bbl/d facility fits in a space as small as 5,000 ft² as the process consists of the Rhodotron® and related pipes, pumps, and vessels for fluid management.

The PetroBeam process is extremely scalable as multiple 10,000 bbl/d units can be arranged in parallel for additional capacity. A 100,000 bbl/d PetroBeam facility would be as long as a soccer field; however, should vertical space be available, the length could be shortened by creating a second level.