Project Energy4Oil aims to deliver a low-cost hybrid nanogenerator able to operate in harsh conditions (pressure up to 12000 psi and working temperatures up to 120ºC) for the Oil & Gas industry. This new disruptive market solution, based on nanotechnology and on the most recent developments in the field of energy harvesting, will increase the resilience of Oil & Gas installations to critical failure, leading to large safety, ecological and economic gains in the sector.
Present Internet of Things (IoT) concepts cannot solve the critical problem of perpetually providing electrical power to sensors deployed in harsh conditions or in remote places. Particularly in the Oil & Gas industry, safety sensors are becoming extremely necessary to monitor well integrity and oil parameters during extraction. However, and ironically, the inaccessibility to electrical power has become the main obstacle preventing the widespread dissemination of Industry 4.0 in the Oil & Gas industry. The successful outcome of this project in demonstrating energy harvesting from oil flow in harsh conditions towards perpetual sensors in Oil & Gas wells, will constitute a major step forward in the market, allowing the reduction of disasters in the Oil & Gas field and minimising their environmental impact.
Energy4Oil will be based on triboelectric nanogenerators, the most recent and promising energy harvesting technology capable to producing high power densities at high efficiencies from mechanical motions. This new technology will be coupled with electromagnetic induction capable of enhancing the overall performance of the device by a factor of 2. This achievement will be performed using advanced material fabrication process, integrated engineering and electronics.
The leading partner has recently demonstrated triboelectric materials able to withstand temperatures up to 130ºC and pressures up to 12000 psi and generating electrical powers of approximately 1 W in laboratory conditions. With this project, we propose to give a major scientific, technological and commercial leap by demonstrating energy harvesting under harsh conditions in relevant environment. For this, we will assemble a versatile, state-of-the-art closed-loop testing system in which oil flows under harsh conditions and integrate the proposed hybrid energy harvesting system for dynamic and reliability tests. Finally, we will assess how the developed technology can be used on other industrial environments, such as the transforming industry, smart water networks or smart agriculture.