We remain reliant on fossil fuels for our current and future energy supply and one of the greatest challenges facing scientists today is to make the most efficient use of our resources. This drive for increased efficiency affects all aspects of the oil industry from upstream enhanced oil recovery technologies to downstream refining processes through to lubricants, additives and coatings.
Diamond provides specialist analytical techniques for the atomic to microscale characterisation of materials ranging from crude oil, petroleum additives, lubricants and anti-corrosion coatings through to the next generation of catalysts for refining.
Upstream Exploration and Production
Fuels, Chemicals and Additives
Pipeline and Processing
Poor air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are at the forefront of public discussion, as well as being high on the agenda of worldwide policy makers. Many industries are embracing rapid changes in response, as is especially visible in the automotive sector, with the introduction of technologies such as gasoline particulate filters (GPFs). GPFs are positioned in a vehicle’s exhaust system and filter fine particulate matter (PM) produced by the engine. Recent legislation in places such as China, India and Europe will drive the adoption of GPFs on the majority of new gasoline, and hybrid electric, vehicles.
Whilst GPFs benefit public health and the environment by filtering out PM, they can also become gradually blocked by collected material. Captured carbonaceous particles (e.g. soot) can routinely oxidize away; however, inorganic PM (e.g. ash) typically remains in the filter for life, slowly blocking it and potentially reducing the fuel economy and power of the vehicle. Inorganic PM is predominantly derived from engine oil additive chemistry, which plays an important role in improving fuel economy, performance, and engine lifetime.Read more...
Effective lubrication has a significant impact on a number of applications ranging from human artificial joint implants to energy efficiency of internal combustion engines and the reliability of offshore wind turbine gearboxes. At low running speeds and high contact pressures the fluid film cannot be maintained and therefore effective lubrication is greatly influenced by the presence of chemical additives in the lubricant. These additives interact with the lubricated surfaces to form nanoscale tribofilms that reduce both material wear and energy losses due to friction. Understanding the mechanisms by which these tribofilms form is essential for development and optimisation of the next generation environmentally friendly effective lubricants, materials and tribological systems.Read more...
The “freezing” of diesel fuel in winter has been a problem since its inception. Wax crystals nucleate and grow and block fuel lines and filters which can lead to vehicle failures and motorists being stranded. Additives are used to control these crystals but, over recent years, the use of biofuels (fatty acid methyl esters) within diesel blends has become increasingly common. This can adversely affect the low temperature operability of the fuel. Legislation demands that biofuels are part of diesel blends throughout the EU, with levels expected to increase.Read more...
Water injection in a well known method used to increase oil recovery. Until around 2000, mechanisms behind this were believed to be physical (maintaining reservoir pressure) in nature. Through the development of BP’s LoSal® (reduced salinity) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology, modification of the brine chemistry of the injection fluid has been shown to play an important role in oil recovery performance.Read more...
”Corrosion resistant” metals are used in challenging environments and where safety is critical, such as in pipelines, aircraft and nuclear waste storage vessels. But it is precisely these materials that are vulnerable to a form of corrosion known as pitting. Understanding of the mechanisms by which these pits form and propagate may allow engineers to build more accurate models of corrosion to predict the lifetime of components and plan when they need inspecting or replacing.Read more...
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