Hot Topics / RCCE Update

February Hot Topic: Tech Check

Recently, my roommate and WVU Section Treasurer, Sara Swanson, was telling me about some neat developments in nanotechnology, especially regarding the oil and natural gas industry.

For example, this article describes thin graphene membranes that can sift out certain gas molecules by size. Mechanical engineering professors Scott Bunch and John Pellegrino co-authored a paper in Nature Nanotechnology that involved membranes that would reduce CO2 emissions from power plants. The permeability of various gases, such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, nitrogen, methane, and sulfur hexafluoride, was measured. The graphene membrane works like a strong molecular sieve, allowing certain gases to transport across.

Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution, says CU study

Another article, very relevant to Region G given the local boom in this industry recently, involves non-toxic tracers added to drilling fluid. In this case, contamination (if there is any) can be traced back to a certain company via “magnetic fingerprint.” Andrew Barron and his colleagues at Rice University have developed a tracer that can added (and therefore detected) in drilling fluid. This would help provide concrete evidence and company responsibility if there is a case of contamination, especially in instances where many companies are in one area. Even Deb Hastings, executive vice president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, is on board in order to help settle some controversies involving fracking.

Tracing the Culprit if Fracking Pollutes Water Supplies


Any comments on these articles? Any other interesting technology articles you would like to share? Leave them below!


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