Development and Optimization of Nanostructured Materials for the Oil and Gas Industry: Case Studies in Gas Separations, Catalysts, and Corrosion Mitigation

M. Ostraat
Aramco Services Company,
United States

Keywords: oil, gas, hydrocarbon conversion, gas separation


As part of Saudi Aramco’s global research efforts, the Boston Research Center supports Aramco’s downstream oil and gas endeavors through the design and development of advanced materials. Current research thrusts are focused on (1) developing novel catalysts for hydrocarbon conversion, (2) designing polymeric materials for use as gas separation membranes, and (3) developing fundamental insights into the nanoscale mechanisms of corrosion. This talk will highlight these challenges and discuss some recent advances made possible via the development and optimization of nanostructured advanced materials. Specifically, this talk will highlight the need for and recent advances in:  Nanostructured catalysts that can perform multiple functions in directed sequence and the design of support structures for these catalysts that are either inert or have desirable functionality. Recent successes include the development of active support structures, single-particle bifunctional catalysts, and novel scalable synthetic routes.  Polymeric membranes that can achieve target gas separations under operating conditions that include high pressures and harsh, reactive environments. In this endeavor, understanding nanoscale-structure / macroscale-function relationships allows for bottom-up material design that targets desired functionality in new and changing environments.  A greater fundamental understanding of the onset and progression of corrosion at the nanoscale to improve the predictive capability of corrosion models. The processes that govern steel pipeline corrosion are still not well understood, due in part to the size scale at which some corrosive mechanisms progress. This talk will include recent efforts that have yielded the first real-time, nanoscale observation of steel corrosion in an aqueous flow environment.