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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    [EN] IBM leads country's first Nanotechnology Lab in the Brazilian IT industry

    NanoLab is part of a $4M investment in IBM Research-Brazil focused on Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Health research across Latin America

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today a new experimental laboratory for nanotechnology research in Brazil. The NanoLab is part of a $4M investment within the recently upgraded IBM Research-Brazil lab in Rio de Janeiro and will focus on projects related to research in Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Health across Latin America.

    Through its NanoLab, IBM is the first company within Brazil's IT industry to work on building nanoscience-based technology prototypes meant to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and big data capabilities. These simulation systems and the process of all data collection and treatment will be powered by IBM Cloud. The lab will enable physicists, engineers and computer scientists to jointly conduct industrial nanoscience and nanotechnology development in Brazil, and across IBM Research's global network of 12 labs. The NanoLab will also collaborate with the local ecosystem, such as universities and government institutions, and has already signed a partnership with UFMG (Federal University from Minas Gerais).

    The new research lab houses equipment for the characterization and testing of integrated lab-on-a-chip devices with a focus on advanced materials, such as the manipulation and testing of nanoparticles. This includes high-precision atomic force and optical microscopes, 3D printers, hardware and software testing tools, among others.

    "The NanoLab is a unique research environment that provides instrumentation for the characterization and manipulation of nanoscale devices and materials, enabling the development of new methods and applications for industrial-scale IT technology. We want the NanoLab to be a hub for industrial science and technology in Brazil that attracts top research talent from around the world," said Mathias Steiner, manager and research staff member, Industrial Technology & Science at IBM Research Brazil.

    New discovery could reduce oil losses during extraction

    Steiner and his NanoLab team's paper, "Adsorption energy as a metric for wettability at the nanoscale"published in Nature Scientific Reports explains how the properties of liquid oil molecules behave in completely different and unexpected ways when in contact with a solid material, at the nanoscale. The study also revealed that the simulation tools and techniques commonly employed by the oil industry do not take into account the increased energy required to extract these oil molecules. As a result, 60 percent or more of a well's oil is left behind in the nanoscale capillaries of shale reservoirs. In response, the NanoLab team is developing nanoscience-enhanced oil flow simulations that could better-predict oil extraction from a reservoir.

    According to Steiner, while the simulation does not suggest how to extract the totality of trapped oil, it offers different techniques and materials that might help to extract about 1 percent more. In Brazil, which pumps 2.4 million barrels of oil every day, that 1 percent increase in production would add 24,000 more barrels to the daily total –and 8.8 million more barrels every year (in Brazil). "Our wettability discovery is an important step to help oil and gas companies to recover more than the industry average of 40 percent of the oil trapped in their reservoirs," Steiner said.

    Next steps

    The next step is to study the flow of oil in nano-capillaries. To that end, IBM Research –Brazil's NanoLab scientists developed an integrated chip platform that enables a way to experimentally validate and calibrate nanoscale flow for building better flow simulations that can determine how much pressure is necessary to pump water, as well as customized chemicals specifically designed to separate oil from a rock's nanoscale pore network –and eventually extract the oil (for which they already have a patent: Method and integrated device for analyzing liquid flow and liquid-solid interface interaction).

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...300466539.html

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Big oil’s next gusher is at the nanoscale

    Mathias Steiner
    April 11, 2017

    Last year the world consumed almost 97 million barrels of oil per day. What if I told you that many more barrels still remain in those same wells? Deep inside the rock, 60 percent and more of a reservoir’s oil remains trapped in capillaries which are sometimes only tens to hundreds of nanometers wide (For comparison: DNA is 2.5 nanometers wide). It’s because of the porous nature of sandstone and shale that oil can settle into sedimentary rock. But really understanding how to get the oil out of these capillaries has been impossible – until now.

    My industrial technology & science team based in Rio de Janeiro published a study in Scientific Reports, Adsorption energy as a metric for wettability at the nanoscale, explaining how the properties of liquid oil molecules behave in completely different and unexpected ways when in contact with a solid, at the nanoscale. Everything the industry knows about how to extract oil, such as calculating the energy it takes for extraction, turns out to be different at the nanoscale.

    Simulating and measuring wettability weirdness

    At attoliters (10-18), a droplet of liquid ceases to look like what we imagine: spherical or teardrop shapes. Instead, our research found that, ultimately, the nanoscale oil droplet looked much more like a flat film against a solid surface. This increased surface area turned out to represent much more “wetting” than had been accounted for in typical macroscopic measurements. And not only was there more surface coverage in these flat nano-droplets than previously thought, the standard simulation tools and techniques did not take into account the increased energy required to extract these oil molecules.

    ...


    Unearthing the nano-level shape change led us to develop oil flow simulations that could better-predict oil extraction from a reservoir.

    IBM, though, isn’t an oil and gas company. We don’t have all the data about the materials, core plugs, and specific reservoirs that an oil company would consider its core data. So, to build a computational representation of a reservoir at the nanoscale (video, below), we took rock characterization data from public repositories, such as ETH Zurich’s Rock Physics Network. Then, based on the “reservoir template” made from the geometrical data, we are now able to deploy the nanoscale wetting and flow science that had not been done before.

    ...

    From flow simulations to oil-filtering chips


    Our wettability discovery is an important step to help oil and gas companies to recover more than the industry average of 40 percent of the oil trapped in their reservoirs. The next step is to study the flow of oil in nano-capillaries. To that end, we have developed an integrated chip platform that enables us to experimentally validate and calibrate nanoscale flow for building better flow simulations (read our paper presented at the 2016 Rio Oil & Gas Expo & Conference: Multiscale Science Enables High-Accuracy Simulations Of Enhanced Oil Recovery).

    To do this, we need to scale up: first, we need a physical measurement of a capillary network from a scanning electron microscope, or an x-ray computed tomography. Then, with the pore network’s data, we use an experimentally calibrated flow simulation to determine how much pressure is necessary to pump water, including customized chemicals specifically designed to separate oil from rock, through the nanoscale pore network – and eventually to push out the oil (for which we have a patent: Method and integrated device for analyzing liquid flow and liquid-solid interface interaction).

    Today, the industry relies on incomplete physical models to predict oil recovery at their wells. And it could significantly improve its return on investment with higher-accuracy oil recovery predictions. Our research offers a way to improve prediction models to better-account for the oil confined at the nanoscale, which is of particular importance in non-conventional reservoirs. Accounting for the nanoscale, now, could mean another 1 percent yield in oil recovery. And eventually, with better simulation technology and functional materials, perhaps we can get closer to recover the remaining 59 percent, too.

    Read more about the work we’re doing at our new NanoLab lab in Rio, here.

    https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2...-at-nanoscale/

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