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Ladies and gentlemen, your world is teeming with life and especially microbial life.
Everywhere on Earth we look, we find them now, I'm sure you can all think of obvious places where microbial life can occur.
Examples are the ocean, the lake close to your home, the soil in your garden and everybody skin.
But what about unexpected places?
Places where one would not believe life to exist.
And yet it does.
One of these places I would like to discuss with you today, namely oil fields, surprisingly microbial life flourishes kilometers beneath our feet in the deposits that hold the oil and gas that we used to power our society.
Yes, my groups even beat us at exploiting fossil fuels, taken out the energy it contains and make a decent living.
I argued that there is a lot we can learn from these microbes that coal, oil fields, their home and in fact, they might be able to help us make oil field operations just a little cleaner because we globally consume 67 million barrels of oil per day.
4000 Olympic swimming pools each and every day.
Now oil fields are fascinating ecosystems, and one could call them extreme, partly belonging to an old earth.
And that is what makes them so fascinating to a petroleum microbiologist like me.
But before we dive into the world of oilfield microbes, we first need to explore oil fields themselves.
Here you look from Holland over the border into Germany.
You see those from Jack standing around, maybe a little stank or two.
I guess this is familiar to most.
But what now lies underneath underneath you can find a variety of things.
First, a cap broke an impermeable rock, Claire that is, containing everything holding everything in place.
Underneath that there is a gas cap because when the oil was formed over geological time, the lighter hydrocarbons have moved up and the lower ones have moved down.
Underneath the gas cap tender is the oil face and underneath depth.
There is water, lots of it.
So called formacion water and all of death is based on source rock.
Now, all of these liquids and gases are not contained in some kind of gigantic underground cavern.
Know they're contained in something called forests Reservoir rock, and it looks a little bit similar to this sponge and all those liquids air contained in those tiny little pores and see very high pressures due to compress.
Gas is oil.
Fields are also elevated in temperature between 50 and 90 degrees C, and many of them are saltier than the sea.
Very important, it is to mention that oil fields are depleted of oxygen.
Fantastic lifestyle, don't you think?
But these microorganisms make it so.
The fact of oxygen is absent gives rise to different types of micro biological breeding, so micro organisms can breed on sulfate, for example, or iron.
Or some can breed on co.
The stuff that we actually exhale.
Now, when humans come along and drill into the oil reservoir, the oil starts flowing naturally due to the expansion of the compressed gasses.
It's a bit similar to the Coke bottle, your drops on the floor effect.
But when this when there is enough liquid taken out in this flow diminishes, then what people do well.
They pump in seawater to maintain that pressure and keep producing the oil and therefore oilfields.
Water has two sources, one information water and to the sea water that we pump in and a complex set off.
Thanks, pipelines, separators, flotation units filters when the oil is flowing to the surface is now need it to separate the water from that oil again.
No to mention the amount of chemical treatment that's goes in here now.
Each of these elements represents a unique environment and holds its own microbial inhabitants.
So what can we now expect from these oil field microbes?
But first, we must be honest and say that these microbes can cause problems to the oil field operations.
One of these problems is bio corrosion.
Normal chemical corrosion is a process that is nothing more than reformation when oxygen this present and it is all the words slow burning off metal.
It happens chemically all the time.
It's just too slow for our eyes to see it to prove this to you.
This is steel wool, a cleaning tool containing soap and very thin threats of iron.
And if I loosen that up a little bit, the surface to volume ratio to the iron is now so large that the corrosion becomes burning and we can actually see it happen.
Now a variety of micro organisms can horrifies this energy also when oxygen is not present, and this is what makes this process very unpredictable.
This is a hole in the pipeline caused by the effects off microbes.
Now, when oil field engineers design by planes and tanks, they typically meant to last for 30 to 40 years.
But when Mr certain type of microbial Iran consuming organisms are present, they can speed up this chemical process by a factor of 10 leading tau pi pi failures and leakages very early on and all the associated problems one might imagine.
Another issue is the formacion off di hydrogen sulfide.
You know that old act in your closet that you start off, throw this away.
That's the stuff, what I'm talking about.
When we introduce seawater into the reservoir, we also introduce sulfate.
And a variety of micro organisms can utilize this sulfate together with the oil to make a living.
But they're byproduct is the smelly and talks, I guess.
How bad is this now?
Actually, Well, H two s is inherently toxic.
It doesn't belong in our oxygen IQ atmosphere.
And each and every year several people get injured due to age to s exposure.
On top of that, it is also highly corrosive, leading to buy a corrosion has a show before, and the oil industry is producing now so much that it needs to be converted to elemental sulfur, which know what he wants leading to these gigantic mountains off.
So for Skeletor across the world.
So by now you're beginning to wonder.
Okay, this just sounds like one huge issue to me.
How can you call this now fascinating?
Well, because you might be able to transform this microbial challenge into an opportunity if we're smart And in order to do this, we need to go back in time to the year 1934.
Where to microbiologists mentioned Everything is everywhere but the environment select what did backing and firing me at that time.
They basically said every micro was everywhere.
But the environment places restrictive conditions upon itself, allowing only a few of these microorganisms to flourish and become dominant.
And that when conditions change, new microorganisms are now better suited for those environmental conditions and will flourish and become dominant at the expense of others.
By using this old principle, we condemn.
Now, turn that now into an information source and we can add to death what is selected.
Tell something about the environment, and this is especially convenient when an environment is close to our eyes in case of the tank or the pipe, or is very beneath our feet.
In case of the oil field itself, oilfields changed all the time.
Temperature drops, salinity changes, and first and foremost also the chemicals that we apply.
But we cannot see microbes.
So then what do we do?
Well, we open up the molecular biology tool books and we peek into their genetic material.
Their d n A.
Because of water sample is easily obtained.
So we take a water sample from all these environments and send them to a lab and test them.
And the information that comes back tells us roughly who is there, but also what their activities might be by using this is an information source.
We can detect issues with H two s and corrosion very early on, but on top of debt.
As a bonus, we also get information about chemical performance and system status.
How does this now look in practice here we have an oil field which is marine in nature.
The produced oil water comes up and he sent to a separator tink here the oil is floated off by flotation and the water is being re prepared for re injection into the reservoir.
Two things happened in between these two tanks.
At first the temperature is heated for 45 to 65 degrees and the water, in order to be re injected, needed to be made less salty.
But how do we make Lord less salty?
Well, they food in tap water, but tap water contains oxygen, which is corrosive, which is what we do not want.
So a chemical is added cold still fight to scavenge that oxygen.
But the reaction product off so fight and oxygen is so fate.
This is the difference between these two tanks.
If we now look at the microbial environment in tank number one, we see that 50% of the microbial population consists of a commence a ll organism type called Marino Back ter.
You can also find them, you know, in oil polluted marine sea water.
But in the second tank, where we're adding the so fight all of a sudden 40% or the microbial population consists off a bacterial type called terra moda sofa.
Let's dissect that name.
Tear Amo meaning it grows in the warm conditions.
They still feel vibrio, meaning.
It's a sulfate eater that forms so fight, which is what we didn't want and noticed there by that, the microbial population indeed is a reflection off the environment, and in this case, we advised to minimize the amount of ammonium sulfide adit.
So there is less, so far, this cell phone video friends around.
In other cases, oilfield owners have been able to significantly optimize and read their in, reduce and optimize their chemical spent have been able to reduce the amount of interventions needed on oil field meaning system shut down because it's a kind of operational issue and have also been able to detect small leaks into their system.
So, as you can see, there is stuff that we can learn from these microorganisms.
Coal, oil fields, their home early on, detection of issues and two optimization of chemical performance and thereby, indeed make oil field operations just a little cleaner.
Who knows what other secrets they might hold for us?


What we can learn from the microbes in oil fields | Geert van der Kraan | TED Institute

14 タグ追加 保存
林宜悉 2020 年 3 月 21 日 に公開
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