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The Latin American country has the first patent in the world to extract oil with nanoparticles. Here we tell you what you should know about it
The News Agency of the National University reported that the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) of Colombia granted the first patent worldwide to the method that uses silica nanoparticles to improve the extraction process of hydrocarbons.
The Surface Phenomena Research Group of the National University (in Medellin) and the Ecopetrol Business Group were in charge of developing this technology. According to the statement, the nanoparticle fluid with silica "acts on the chemical compounds called asphaltenes, which block the pores of rocks in deposits that contain crude oil and restrict oil production."
The group of researchers is composed of both teachers and students. They are: Farid Cortés, Stefanía Betancur Márquez, Wilson Antonio Cañas Marín, Álvaro Prada Velásquez, Richard Disney Zabala Romero, Manuel Guillermo Jaimes Plata, Alejandro Restrepo Morales, Camilo Andrés Franco Ariza and Sergio Hernando Lopera Castro.
How does it work?
Farid Cortés, a professor in the Department of Processes and Energy and one of the inventors of the technology, explains that "the nanofluid is injected into the porous medium and left to soak for a while, during which the nanoparticles selectively capture asphaltenes".
In addition to improving the process, the nanofluid can be adapted to specific conditions and this means that aspects such as well type and capacity will be taken into account. On the other hand, nanotechnology would be cheaper than traditional processes. The University's news agency says that "nanoparticles can be obtained at low costs and are effective at very low concentrations."
Applications outside the academy
This successful case of academic collaboration and private enterprise shows that you can turn to universities to carry out research processes applicable to processes outside the academy. That is, to address real problems with scientific solutions.
The patent, the first of its kind in the world, will not only have applications in Colombia but also in the other hydrocarbon extraction countries. In this regard, Cortés notes that "the oil world is not only Colombia but has a direct impact on the world. Ecopetrol is the largest company in Colombia and also has assets in the United States, the Gulf of Mexico and Peru, and therefore we can negotiate technologies with other companies operating or providing services, which can benefit us both at the University level as of the country. "
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "El nuevo método para extraer petróleo con nanopartículas es colombiano"