Many unconventional sources of hydrocarbons have become more challenging to extract using conventional technology. Producers are increasingly exploring the concept of "downhole chemistry," which involves pretreating or processing the product while it is still in the ground.
Rice University -- a world leader in both applied nanotechnology and catalytic processing -- has taken a leading role in downhole chemistry research. Rice researchers have designed "smart" nanoparticles that can travel through an oil reservoir and report back to the surface with information about product quality and characteristics in specific parts of the reservoir.
Rice is one of the nation's leading research centers for catalytic chemistry, which is especially important for downhole chemistry and refining.
Further information regarding applications of nano-materials for water treatment and corrosion inhibition can be obtained by contacting the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enables Water Treatment (NEWT), Mason Tomson, Jun Lou, Pedro Alvarez, and Qilin Li.