Evaluating the potential of natural surfactants in the petroleum industry: The case of hydrophobins

Marijana Blesic, Valentina DIchiarante, Roberto Milani, Markus Linder, Pierangelo Metrangolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Enhancing oil recovery from currently available reservoirs is a major issue for petroleum companies. Among the possible strategies towards this, chemical flooding through injection of surfactants into the wells seems to be particularly promising, thanks to their ability to reduce oil/water interfacial tension that promotes oil mobilization. Environmental concerns about the use of synthetic surfactants led to a growing interest in their replacement with surfactants of biological origin, such as lipopeptides and glycolipids produced by several microorganisms. Hydrophobins are small amphiphilic proteins produced by filamentous fungi with high surface activity and good emulsification properties, and may represent a novel sustainable tool for this purpose. We report here a thorough study of their stability and emulsifying performance towards a model hydrocarbon mixture, in conditions that mimic those of real oil reservoirs (high salinity and high temperature). Due to the moderate interfacial tension reduction induced in such conditions, the application of hydrophobins in enhanced oil recovery techniques does not appear feasible at the moment, at least in absence of co-surfactants. On the other hand, the obtained results showed the potential of hydrophobins in promoting the formation of a gel-like emulsion 'barrier' at the oil/water interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Volume90
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Petroleum industry
Surface-Active Agents
Oils
Surface active agents
Surface tension
Lipopeptides
Recovery
Petroleum reservoirs
Emulsification
Water
Glycolipids
Petroleum
Hydrocarbons
Emulsions
Fungi
Microorganisms
Gels
Crude oil
Proteins
Industry

Keywords

  • biosurfactant
  • emulsion
  • enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
  • hydrophobin
  • ICGC-6

Cite this

Blesic, Marijana ; DIchiarante, Valentina ; Milani, Roberto ; Linder, Markus ; Metrangolo, Pierangelo. / Evaluating the potential of natural surfactants in the petroleum industry : The case of hydrophobins. In: Pure and Applied Chemistry. 2018 ; Vol. 90, No. 2. pp. 305-314.
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Evaluating the potential of natural surfactants in the petroleum industry : The case of hydrophobins. / Blesic, Marijana; DIchiarante, Valentina; Milani, Roberto; Linder, Markus; Metrangolo, Pierangelo.

In: Pure and Applied Chemistry, Vol. 90, No. 2, 23.02.2018, p. 305-314.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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