Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nanotechnology could lighten Venezuela's oil footprint

Humberto Márquez in Tierramérica: Venezuela is studying the use of nanotechnology as a means of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases caused by the oil industry.  Nanotechnology operates at the sub-microscopic scale: a nanometer is a unit of measure equal to one billionth of a meter.

“We are seeking to use nanoparticles of metallic salts, such as iron, nickel or cobalt nitrates, as catalysts in oil-related processes that produce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sarah Briceño, a researcher at the Center for Physics at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC).

Catalysts are substances used to speed up chemical processes, “and our goal is to develop catalysts adapted to Venezuelan industry that will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from activities such as oil refining and fuel consumption by motor vehicles by up to 50 percent,” Briceño told Tierramérica.

Venezuela, a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), extracts close to three million barrels of oil a day and has over two billion barrels of heavy crude oil reserves....

From NASA: This false-colour (near-infra-red, red, green) image has been processed to emphasize details on the lake’s surface. The scene shows oil slicks (the various dark patches) in the south-eastern portion of the lake. The slicks come from leaks in the various oil production and storage platforms located on Lake Maracaibo.

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