Technology is driven by efficiency: We want to achieve our goals faster, with less cost. Some of the greatest advances in science have come from various industries’ efficient solutions to their own goals. The future of oil tech, considering its size and fortune, could, therefore, benefit us in surprising ways.
We can’t perfectly predict the benefits of current scientific research. Email came from a need for the US military to communicate efficiently. One of the most important laws in science is the Second Law of Thermodynamics: this has helped formulate, scientifically, what limitations exist in the universe. Yet, this law, which applies throughout the universe, was formulated because of a need to understand and make more efficient steam engines!
If even new video game technology is benefitting doctors, we ought not to be surprised if an industry like oil can either develop or further the goals of upcoming technology. Considering the need for innovation, total earnings and so on, we have all the elements necessary to further the advance of science, and therefore benefit us.
Thus new technology is often on display at petroleum shows, allowing companies to display the latest advances in making safer, more efficient methods.
For example, most people know about nanotechnology, which sounds like something from science-fiction: the manipulation of atomic and molecular scale matter. That is matter so small it can’t even be seen with a light microscope. Technology that can manipulate at this level, controlled by scientists, would be an enormous benefit to various industries: in health, for example, we could target diseased cells to remove them without destroying healthy ones.
For oil companies, nanoparticles can aid in collecting trace amounts of oil. After a flowing oil-well is used up, oil still remains: in areas hard to find and extract from. Identifying this as a problem, extensive research is currently presenting highly favourable outcomes for the future.
Oil tech offers real improvment, scientists agree
As Cocuzza Matteo and colleagues highlighted in the American Journal of Applied Sciences last year, after an extensive review of current nanotech and its application to oil:
“Some technologies which are already available off-the-shelf can offer real improvements in dealing with some specific issues of the oil industry. Other technologies can require further elaboration before direct use, but their potential is enormous.”
Furthermore, new technology has also been produced to make oil literally out of air. British engineers have created a means of extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere before implementing a series of steps that leads to petrol. The company produced five litres in less than three months. Taking further steps, such as renewable energy with the electricity usage, could mean the entire process is carbon neutral.
This kind of innovation is essential to making the world cleaner, healthier and better for us all. Whether it’s the reduction in the number of drillings due to nanotech – a step alone that can be used in surgery, agriculture and elsewhere – or becoming carbon neutral, these forms of efficiency by themselves are beneficial in multiple ways. Like steam engines leading to a universal law, advances in oil technology have the potential to aid us in many different spheres of life.
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Terrence Stoker is a long-time blogger, tech junkie, and long time watcher of oil conferences. Born with insatiable curiosity, he will read everything on the Internet one day.