Inhibition of gas hydrate formation by ice-structuring proteins

A combination of water and small hydrocarbons at high pressures and low temperatures provides conditions for formation of gas hydrates. Gas hydrates are a problem to the oil and gas industry as they can block pipelines causing loss of production. Therefore there is great economic incentive to find suitable inhibitors. Different inhibitors are presently used but they suffer with problems as toxicity, flammability, low biodegradability and high costs.

The object in this project is to understand how ice-structuring proteins prevent or delay the formation of gas hydrates. Ice-structuring proteins are produced by certain animals, plants, fungi and bacteria living in cold climates that are able to survive even though their internal temperature is far below the freezing point of their cell fluids and blood. Recently studies have shown that ice-structuring proteins may hold a promising potential to work as a low-dosage hydrate inhibitor while at the same time being environmentally benign.

The goal is to investigate if ice-structuring proteins can be applied in field applications to control the formation of gas hydrates. The experiments will be focused on development of methodologies and hydrate inhibition testing using three different high pressure apparatus: stirred tank, Rocking Cell and high pressure µDSC .

The project is a part of the BioRec project evaluated under the The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. During the project, there will be collaboration with Mærsk Oil & Gas, Dong Energy and Roskilde University.

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Nicolas von Solms,

Co-supervisor: Prof. John Woodley,