They suggest that nanotechnology could help us extract more fuel and feedstock hydrocarbons from dwindling resources. However, industry inertia and a lack of awareness of the benefits could mean a missed opportunity.
According to Saeid Mokhatab and Brian Towler of the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department, at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie, there are many opportunities for the industry to exploit nanotechnology. However, there is a traditional lack of innovation in the exploration and production sector, a perception of high costs, new risks, and a general lack of awareness of the benefits of nanotechnology.
The researchers have now described the potential benefits of nanotechnology, which could change that perception. Mokhatab and Towler point out that nanomaterials, such as nanotubes or engineered porous minerals, might be used in the gas field or other source to improve the efficiency of extraction of a wide variety of hydrocarbon fuel compounds and chemical feedstocks.
Similarly, related nanomaterials might be used to improve purification and storage of hydrocarbons, while yet other nanomaterials might be used in environmental remediation, allowing contaminated sites to be cleaned up of harmful pollutants. Nanomaterials might even be developed as corrosion inhibitors for equipment and at the same time, more sophisticated nanotechnology could be developed as solid-state gas sensors for air pollution monitoring.
"The past decade has seen explosive growth worldwide in the synthesis and study of a wide range of nanostructured materials, the building blocks of nanotechnology," the researchers explain, "Investigations of mechanical, chemical, electrical, magnetic, and optical behaviour of nanostructured materials have demonstrated the possibilities to engineer the properties of these new materials for a wide range of applications."
The researchers add that as readily accessible hydrocarbon reserves become depleted, the oil and gas exploration and production industry faces increasing technical challenges. These challenges boil down to increased costs and limitations on drilling and production technologies.
Jim Corlett | alfa
Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time
21.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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