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Oil

Energy

One of world's largest solar plants to be used to produce ... oil

In a real case of strange bedfellows, one of the largest solar plants in the world is being built in Oman to boil water for use in oil production rather than to generate electricity. The plant, dubbed Miraah and created by GlassPoint for Petroleum Development Oman, will eventually produce the equivalent of 1 GW of power and will replace a less energy efficient natural gas method currently in use.Read More

Environment

Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

Energy

Researchers produce new fuel from coal dust and algae

Researchers at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa have developed a new fuel, known as Coalgae. Made from a combination of algae and coal dust, the latter of which is a waste product, the fuel could have a significant positive impact on the environment.Read More

Environment

Sponge made from layers of nanosheets shows promise in soaking up oil spills

Five years on and questions still remain over the Deepwater Horizons oil spill, where millions of gallons of crude oil were spewed into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps the most pressing is how oil might be best cleaned up should such an environmental catastrophe occur in the future. A team of Australian researchers claims to have found an answer, developing a special porous material that is claimed to soak up to 33 times its own weight in oil and organic solvents.Read More

Environment

Sunlight-activated nanoparticles could clean up oil sands pollution on the cheap

Last year around 2.3 million barrels of oil were pulled each day from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the third largest oil reserve in the world. This mining process is hugely water-intensive, and though much of it is recycled, it still results in massive pools of polluted wastewater which are difficult to treat and pose a threat to the environment. Canadian researchers have developed a new approach to removing the contaminants using sunlight and nanoparticles, an approach they say will prove much more effective and cheaper than existing methods.Read More

Environment

ROV assesses thickness of oil slicks from underneath

When people are attempting to clean up oil spills at sea, one of the key things they need to know is the amount of oil that's been spilled – among other things, this will determine the amount of dispersant or other agents that are used. In order to make that process easier and more accurate, scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have developed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that does the job by measuring the thickness of oil slicks from below the surface. Read More

Science

"Smart" undersea pipeline sends status reports to shore

Undersea oil pipelines are typically inspected about once every five years ... but what happens if one of them gives out between those inspections? That's where the Norwegian SmartPipe project comes in. Initiated in 2006, it's aimed at developing self-monitoring pipelines that continuously transmit real-time status reports to shore. Read More

Science

Device zaps oil to make it flow easier

It's a simple fact that the more fluid an oil is, the easier it is to pump. That's why oil companies typically heat sections of pipeline, to reduce the viscosity of the crude oil traveling within. Generating that heat still requires a fair amount of energy, however, plus the oil's reduced viscosity produces turbulence it its flow. Temple University's Prof. Rongjia Tao has developed what may be a better alternative – a device that electrifies the oil. Read More

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