Sergey Sitnov, Senior Research Associate of the Laboratory, is one of the seven 2017 Russian Presidential Grant winners from KFU. His work at the laboratory focuses on finding ways to increase efficiency of high-viscosity oil extraction with various catalytic systems. Since beginning in 2013, these studies have already shown noticeable results - new methods of catalytic agents synthesizing were developed and patented - but now a different line of research is gaining more attention. Namely, experiments with colloidal solutions of nanosized catalytic agents will bring Sergey Sitnov 600,000 rubles annually for the next two years under his Presidential Grant.
"The extraction of high-viscosity oils is complicated by the fact that they occur in hardly permeable reservoirs such as shales, strong sands, or limestones. Using thermal methods is not enough to extract oil, so modifications are needed. We think that colloidal metal oxide solutions can serve as such," says Sergey Sitnov.
These solutions consist of water or other organic solvent like toluene and transition metal oxides in suspended state as a major ingredient. Due to their low price and availability, oxides of iron, nickel, cobalt and copper are usually used. This makes such catalytic agents more effective in use and more profitable in manufacturing. By the way, several oil companies have already appreciated these benefits and started to show interest in supporting this undertaking.