Marshall's group also will receive 10 sets of the Sierra Analytics software and workstations as well as annual updates. The commercial value of that package has a dollar value well into six figures. In the future, the researchers and Sierra Analytics will continue to share updated information, enabling both to stay atop the burgeoning "petroleomics" field.
How does having a detailed analysis of the chemical components of a crude oil sample benefit petroleum companies? Ryan P. Rodgers, an associate scholar/scientist and director of petroleum research at the magnet lab, gave an example.
"Refiners of petroleum sell molecules, in essence," he said. "They need to know what types of acids and other corrosive compounds are mixed in with the 'good' molecules so that they can develop processes to remove them. This helps to expand the functional life of their refineries, ultimately saving the company money. Ideally, such cost savings would be passed on to the consumer."
John Fraser, FSU's assistant vice president for Research and Economic Development, said that "the insight Alan's group offers to the refinery companies is useful information about the crude oils the refiners have -- how to adjust the refining process to maximize the production of valuable molecules and minimize waste. In other words, how to effectively squeeze more from each drop of oil. Their expertise has been utilized from the hot sands of Saudi Arabia to the frozen tundra of the Canadian tar sands. All of this further enhances the reputation of FSU."
|Contact: Alan G. Marshall|
Florida State University