SBIR Phase I: Environmentally-Friendly Self-Thickening Chemicals For Improved Conformance Control
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
841 E. San Bernardino Road, Covina, CA, 91723-1417
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a new class of environmentally-friendly and sustainable biopolymer-based chemistries that can be modified and applied in oil and gas production operations. These new chemistries take advantage of the availability of natural polymers such as guar as a feedstock. It already has been demonstrated that guar and other biopolymers may be modified by adding other chemical groups to create ?green? polymer molecules with a broader range of solution properties. These may include the ability to have a self-thickening or gelling effect. Such fluids are applied in oil and gas wells to block selectively movement of subsurface water, thereby increasing hydrocarbon production. This sustainable technology would replace a competing chemical method based on using (not green) synthetic polymers. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are research breakthroughs that will have immediate and profound commercial potential for the target application of increasing the volume of oil produced in mature oil fields. The DOE estimates these fields in the U.S. have over 350 billion barrels of oil remaining in place that is not now recoverable economically. A new method that will produce some of this trapped oil cheaply with an environmentally-friendly chemical will be extremely attractive to the domestic energy industry. Besides the immediate target application for the oil and gas industry, the same types of new environmentally-friendly chemistries should find uses in other industries.
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