The system increases the pore size of the zeolites, the catalysers used to refine petroleum and obtain fuels such as petrol and diesel
The “molecular motorways” increase fuel quality and production
The invention produces energy in a more efficient, sustainable and economical way
Four years ago, Andrew Dougherty, a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), found the partner he was looking for in the same institution where he was educated to start an innovative project within the energy sector. Javier García-Martínez is the inventor of a new system which uses nanotechnology to improve the efficiency of petroleum refineries.
The Traditional System and Its Disadvantage
Petroleum refinery uses porous materials called zeolites as catalysers. When the hydrocarbon compounds pass through the micropores of a zeolite, they are decomposed into transport and gas fuels. The problem with the traditional system is that the largest hydrocarbons are wasted in the process due to the pore size of the zeolites, which is too small to let them pass through.
Molecular Motorways: An Invention That Increases the Barrel Value by 2.5 Euros
The chemist García-Martínez designed zeolites with pores 10 times as large. In practice this means that the refineries can obtain a greater yield from the crude oil and therefore increase their earnings by approximately 2.5 euros per barrel. Moreover, the expansion of the zeolite micropores into mesopores improves the quality of the fuels. “These mesopores act like motorways which connect the smallest micropores, improving the molecular traffic inside the zeolites,” explains García-Martínez in a statement published on the MIT website.
Rive Technology, The Company Which Commercialises the Invention
In 2006, the two researchers and the chemical engineer Larry Evans founded the company Rive Technology to commercialise García-Martínez’s invention and to transform oil refinery thanks to nanotechnology and achieving a modern energy production which is more efficient, sustainable and economical.
The Largest Oil Company in the World Is Already On Their Client List
The large oil companies have spent decades investing in research to find a catalyser which improves the process of transforming crude into fuel, into petrol or diesel. Now they are all interested in Javier García-Martínez’s invention. Their growing client list most notably features the largest oil company in the world: Saudi Aramco.
This technology is applicable to other processes, such as air and water treatment and the conversion of waste and biomass into useful materials and energy. Furthermore, a study financed by the United States Energy Department in 2012 indicates the system can reduce the energy used in the separation of propane from propylene by 70%.
Javier García-Martínez’s Brilliant Career
This young chemist born in Logroño (Spain) in 1973 studied at MIT. His field of specialisation is centred on nanotechnology applied to new materials. He currently holds 40 patents, among which is the patent for the catalyser which enables the refineries to obtain greater yields from each barrel of crude oil.
In 2005 he received the European Medal, awarded annually to the best European chemist under 35 and in 2006 he was awarded the European Young Chemist Silver Medal. He is a member of the Emerging Technologies Council for the World Economic Forum and he combines his work at Rive Technology with teaching in his role as Director of the Molecular Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Alicante.