LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

Industrial Projects

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Projects in course (2015) 

1. Determination of monoethylene glycol in natural gas

Supported by: Petrobras

Objective: Development of an analytical platform for determination of monoethylene glycol in liquefied natural gas samples.

Problem: Liquefied natural gas are complex samples which exhibits color, contain particulate material, present high ionic strength with conductivity of up to 3030 μS cm1 and are composed by different elements such as metal ions (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Ba2+, Sr2+, Fe3+), anions (Cl, Br, SO42), carboxylic acids (glycolate, formate, acetate, propionate, butyrate) and silicates. Monoethylene glycol (MEG) is usually added to the natural gas production lines in Petrobras to prevent pipes clogging due to hydrate formation. On the other hand, MEG acts as an undesirable contaminant decreasing the quality of the final product, promoting corrosion in the piping system and poisoning the catalyst. Consequently, this dialcohol has to be removed from the natural gas production lines after its use.

Project proposal: Devices for monitoring MEG residues are essential in order to test the effectiveness of the regeneration procedure as well as to ensure a final product that complies with the quality standards required by the gas & oil industry and consumer market.

Project dateline: December 2015

LMF team in charge: Dr. Renato S. Lima (technical leader) and Ms. Angelo L. Gobbi (project coordinator).


Figure 1. Santos Gas II FPSO (MODEC/Petrobras–Brazil) on the left and formation of hydrate into a natural gas pipe on the right

2. Microfluidics for crude oil samples

Supported by: Petrobras

Objective: Development of microfluidic devices for pretreatment and phase separation of oil samples.

Problem: Oil samples are very complex matrices containing emulsified water, different hydrocarbons and diverse inorganic particulates, which hinders direct analytical determinations of physicochemical parameters and other important properties. A pretreatment of oil samples is frequently necessary to promote separation of the several phases (oil-water-solids) under laminar flow and subsequent measurement of the desired parameters. This procedure inhibit in situ tests, raise the consumption of chemicals and increase the time of analysis.

Project proposal: The development of systems based on microfluidics as a potential output to solve these problems. Microfluidic tools for separation of oil complex matrices are a very promising area of the analytical sciences open for investigation. The high viscosity of the crude tends to hamper the generation of laminar flow within the microfluidic channels due to the produced turbulence, and the new and appropriated microfluidic systems proposed by this project are expected to overcome this problem.

Project dateline: December 2016

LMF team in charge: Dr. Renato S. Lima (technical leader) and Ms. Angelo L. Gobbi (project coordinator).

 petrobras-pj-oil sample

Figure 2 – Oil sample to be subject to analysis by microfluidic devices comprised by the scope of this project.