The Separations research theme at ICAM is looking at improving a range of processes which are used in the oil and gas industry. These separation processes occupy a large portion of the industry’s activities, contributing to both capital and operational expenditure. 
The separation of chemicals is fundamental to almost all industrial processes but the use of chemical separation and purification is extremely energy intensive. Currently, according Nature, 10 to 15% of all energy consumed globally is used in chemical separation processes.
Improving the efficiency of separation processes, or being able to eliminate steps through improved separations earlier in the process, would have a huge impact on economic performance for BP. In addition, treated water could be used as feedstock for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and other BP Upstream production processes.  
To address these challenges, ICAM research is developing new knowledge and improved materials for separations in the oil and gas industry.  The research is impacting BP’s Upstream and Downstream operations through:
  • a better understanding of the structure activity relationship between membrane structure, its properties and the flow through the membrane, leading to optimised water processing and separation operations
  • developing separations systems  that are more efficient and resist fouling 
  • an understanding of the nano-scale and micro-scale features which govern and influence separation and condensation processes