Tag Archives: Sarah Briceño

Venezuela, oil production, and reducing its environmental footprint

The Nov. 14, 2012 article by Humberto Marquez for AlertNet; a Thompson Reuters Foundation Service, provides a context for why Venezuela is so interested in reducing the environmental footprint left by oil production,

Venezuela, a founding member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), extracts close to three million barrels of oil a day and has over two billion barrels of heavy crude oil reserves.

There are six refineries in the South American country that process a total of 1.1 million barrels daily.

Meanwhile, according to OPEC figures, the country consumes 742,000 barrels of different types of fuel daily, of which 300,000 barrels correspond to the gasoline used by more than six million motor vehicles.

The Ministry of the Environment reports that Venezuela is responsible for 0.48 percent of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases and 0.56 percent of one of these “villains”, carbon dioxide.

Here are a few details about the research they are currently pursuing,

“We are seeking to use nanoparticles of metallic salts, such as iron, nickel or cobalt nitrates, as catalysts in oil-related processes that produce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sarah Briceño, a researcher at the Centre for Physics at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC).

Catalysts are substances used to speed up chemical processes, “and our goal is to develop catalysts adapted to Venezuelan industry that will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from activities such as oil refining and fuel consumption by motor vehicles by up to 50 percent,” Briceño told Tierramérica*.

Apparently, they are expecting this research to yield results in 2013 although it’s unclear whether that means laboratory results or practical applications. Interesting article and this is the first time I’ve found an opportunity to post about Venezuela and its nanotechnology efforts.