Natural gas nanotech

October 30, 2007

Nanotechnology could revolutionize the natural gas industry across the whole lifecycle from extraction to pollution reduction or be an enormous missed opportunity, claim two industry experts writing in Inderscience's International Journal of Nanotechnology. 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 behavior 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.
-end-


Inderscience Publishers

Related Nanotechnology Articles from Brightsurf:

Hiring antibodies as nanotechnology builders
Researchers at the University of Rome Tor Vergata recruit antibodies as molecular builders to assemble nanoscale structures made of synthetic DNA.

Nanotechnology delivers hepatitis B vaccine
X-ray imaging shows that nanostructured silica acts as a protective vehicle to deliver intact antigen to the intestine so that it can trigger an immune response.

Want in on nanotechnology? Capitalize on collaborative environments
Patent law experts demonstrate that private-public partnerships lead to promising innovation output measured in patents.

Nanotechnology makes it possible for mice to see in infrared
Mice with vision enhanced by nanotechnology were able to see infrared light as well as visible light, reports a study published Feb.

Healing kidneys with nanotechnology
In new research appearing in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, Hao Yan and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in China describe a new method for treating and preventing Acute Kidney Injury.

A treasure trove for nanotechnology experts
A team from EPFL and NCCR Marvel has identified more than 1,000 materials with a particularly interesting 2-D structure.

Nanotechnology could redefine oral surgery
A trip to the dentist or orthodontist usually instills a sense of dread in most patients, and that's before the exam even begins.

MEDLINE indexes Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology
Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, an important journal published by Benthm Science, is accepted to be included in MEDLINE.

Nanotechnology and nanopore sequencing
DNA is the hereditary material in our cells and contains the instructions for them to live, behave, grow, and develop.

Nanotechnology: Lighting up ultrathin films
Based on a study of the optical properties of novel ultrathin semiconductors, researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich have developed a method for rapid and efficient characterization of these materials.

Read More: Nanotechnology News and Nanotechnology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.