Our group is working on the development of the first ever electrical technology for hydrocarbon fouling mitigation. The underlying concept is the electrowetting of the target surface with water, which reduces the possibility of hydrocarbon deposition on the surface. Buildup of a water layer at the surface prevents hydrocarbon-surface contact.
This retrofittable technology consumes very low electrical power and can mitigate various kinds of hydrocarbon fouling (asphaltenes, waxes, hydrates) in wide-ranging operating conditions. This concept can significantly reduce the environmental impact of hydrocarbon production by eliminating the use of chemical inhibitors for flow assurance applications.
This concept was the winner of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) R&D competition at SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in 2014 (Link).