Research Area: Improved recovery

Synthesis and characterization of novel nonparticles for enhanced oil recovery applications; development of superabsorbent gels for absorbing oil spills

Project Number: 6506
Project Duration: 1. February 2011 - 15. December 2012

Project Director: Bo Nyström, Department of Chemistry, UiO
Division Head: Hans Kristian Kotlar


This project belongs to VISTA's previous research area Biotechnology

The object of this project is to find and/or design an optimal microgel/nanogels system for polymer reservoir flooding, it also addresses how to recovery oil from oil spills in the sea by use of new superabsorbent gel. The aim of the project is to design and synthesis new polymeric microgels that can sustain the conditions of temperature, hydrostatic pressure and salinity that reign in the reservoirs in the North Sea. The employed polymers/materials should be environmentally friendliness. The drilling for oil in the seabed and the transportation of oil across the sea always involves the risk of oil spills with the consequential environmental problems. In the second part of this project, we propose to develop new superabsorbing/hybrid microgels/nanogels. The gels should be reasonable cheap and simple to make on a large scale, environmentally friendly, and able to absorb several times their own weight of oil, without absorbing any significant amount of water.
Currently we have designed and synthesized a new kind of highly hydrophobic hybrid "core-shell" microgels with an inorganic nanosized magnetic iron oxide/SiO2 'core', while vary the 'shell' with different kind of polymers/copolymers of variety functional environmental stimuli materials. The primary organic solvent absorption test show that these polymer shells with nonpolar side chain hydrophobic elastic network on the fabrication of the crosslinked polymer, provide large cavities/big surface areas which significantly can enhance the solvent absorbency. The magnetic core provides an alternative method for the fast and selective removal of any hydrophobic organic spill from water surface via highly hydrophobic core-shell nanogel under external magnetic field.
In the next step we will synthesize some new microgels with environmentally friendliness monomer such as N-vinylcaprolactam (VCL), oligo-poly(ethylene glycol)-methacrylate (OPEG-MA), as well as some nontoxic beta-cyclodextrin-containing cross-linker (CD-AA), biodegrable crosslinker-polycaprolactone-acrylate (PCL-AA). These new microgels will then be well characterized with the aim to find which of them that are best suited for EOR applications.


Scholar: Kaizheng Zuh

E-mail: kaizheng.zhu@kjemi.uio.no
University of Oslo

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