Hydrate formation has long been a problem for hydrocarbon production in the Arctic. Kazan Federal University's EcoOil research unit works on inhibitors to help mitigate the problem - one of the results was publicized by us just recently.
Co-author of the latest article, Research Associate of the Rheological and Thermochemical Research Lab Abdolreza Farhadian, explains, "So far, kinetic inhibitors prevail, created on the basis of polyvinyl polymers, showing good results, but they do not decompose at all under natural conditions. This is their huge disadvantage. With that in mind, over the past few years, our research team has focused on creating a unique inhibitor based on natural compounds. And we thought: maybe it's worth adding certain functional groups to the natural polymer chitosan, increasing its water solubility and its effectiveness in inhibiting hydrate formation and corrosion? And we've succeeded."
KFU's inhibitors present a unique combination of biodegradability and eco-friendliness. According to Dr. Farhadian, they are also quite cheap and non-toxic.
"Based on chitosan, we obtained a completely water-soluble reagent, and the synthesis was single-stage and was carried out under fairly mild conditions. This experiment helped to find a unique method for solving at least two problems," he shares.
The new reagent is effective in protecting pipelines from corrosion; at the same time, it can stifle hydrate formation. It's an interdisciplinary by KFU's physicist, chemists, and geologists.
The results have been presented overseas, at the University of Stavanger (Norway) in 2019.
This work is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research's Arctic Resources Grant.
"Sulfonated chitosan as green and high cloud point kinetic methane hydrate and corrosion inhibitor: Experimental and theoretical studies" was made available online in March 2020 and will appear in print in May 2020.