The flowability of heavy oil and bitumen is a fundamental challenge facing the oil and gas industry. In places like the northern United States and Canada, where production tends to be highly-viscous, production, transportation, and storage can be significantly more expensive.
For example, bitumen, which comes from oil sands, can be nearly solid at room temperature. In order to allow bitumen to flow, it must be heated or diluted, typically with other lighter oils or oil derivatives. This is an expensive process and requires additional steps further down the supply chain when the bitumen must be stripped of these adulterants. LiquiGlide® would eliminate the need to dilute or heat the bitumen in order to transport it through a pipeline, saving the industry billions.
Originally, LiquiGlide® was developed to resolve the build-up of methane hydrates in oil pipelines. Methane hydrate forms an ice-like structure that clogs pipelines and creates enormous costs for energy companies. At lab scale, LiquiGlide’s coatings are extremely effective in preventing the build-up of such structures.
LiquiGlide® can also act as a protective layer, reducing the rate of corrosion and build up of scaling, and inhibiting deposits that cause costly clogs in oil pipelines.
LiquiGlide® can create more efficient packaging for lubricants, greases and other packaged products in the oil industry. Similar to the consumer goods space, LiquiGlide’s coatings reduce waste, improve ease of use, and ensure complete evacuation of the product.
Invented in the Varanasi Lab at MIT, LiquiGlide® is the only permanently wet slippery surface. No other durable solution makes viscous liquids slide easily.