Van Krevelen diagram

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Van Krevelen diagrams are graphical plots developed by Dirk Willem van Krevelen (chemist and professor of fuel technology at the TU Delft) and used to assess the origin and maturity of kerogen and petroleum. The diagram cross-plots the hydrogen:carbon (hydrogen index) as a function of the oxygen:carbon (oxygen index) atomic ratios of carbon compounds.

Different kinds of organic matter are more likely to produce oil during thermocatalytic maturation than other types: Algae, type 1, H-rich, O-poor, tend to make good oils. Trees and other woody vegetation are made of type 3 organic matter, O-rich, H-poor, and are sources of coal and gas. This diagram is mostly used for differentiating different types of kerogen.

See also[edit]


  • van Krevelen, D.W. (1950). "Graphical-statistical method for the study of structure and reaction processes of coal", Fuel, 29, 269-84.
  • van Krevelen, D.W. and Schuyer, J. (1957) Coal science. Elsevier publishing company.
  • The chemistry and technology of petroleum