I-Corps: Nanofluids Technology
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Oil refineries use heat exchangers extensively for multiple purposes, which include heating and cooling of the reactors and production containers, intermediate products (fractional distillation), as well as condensation of various solvents. Other process industries (e.g., food processing) also have similar needs for heating and cooling, thus resulting in extensive use of different types of heat exchangers. Over time, the widespread use of the heat exchangers leads to their decline in their performance due to fouling and corrosion, as well as due to the inability to provide for their constant cooling. There is a lack of immediate solution to prevent these existing issues in the refineries, due to high operating and capital costs associated with the petrochemical and other process industries. Nanofluids Technology is a promising solution to combat these challenges by improving the energy efficiency (through enhancement of the material properties of the coolants) as well as mitigating issues due to fouling and corrosion. The proposed tasks in the I-Corps project will enable the market survey and identification of bottlenecks in these industries ? thus accelerating the anticipated development of this technology and by enabling more effective insertion and deployment of the Nanofluids Technology based on customer needs. Nanofluids are capable of altering the thermo-fluidic properties of heat transfer fluids to facilitate better thermal management. This has applications in various industries, including: power generation, transportation (automotive, aerospace, etc.), chemical and food processing, life sciences (e.g., rapid thermal cycling for nucleic acid analyses), buildings, defense and homeland security, oil and gas exploration. The I-Corps team will perform market surveys in the petro-chemical industry for targeted deployment of Nanofluids Technology with the goal of improving the performance of heat exchangers. The I-Corps team will identify the deficient aspects of Nanofluids Technology that need to be improved to be more responsive to the market needs and will leverage the inherent benefits of this technology. The Nanofluids Technology will be demonstrated for various types of heat exchangers to convince the potential customers of its efficacy. This technical demonstration will strengthen the technology requirements and will be guided by target metrics derived from the customer surveys. Techno-economic feasibility analyses of Nanofluids Technology will be performed with the intent of establishing new ventures.