Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Ultra-High Conductivity Umbilicals Program
NanoRidge Materials, Houston, TX 77023
DUCO, Inc., Houston, TX 77015-6542
Rice University- Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Houston, TX 77005
Numerous developments have occurred that will enable the next generation of Ultra-High Conductivity Umbilicals for deep sea oil and gas production. These developments have occurred in the new field of nanotechnology and have been sparked by the exciting properties of Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNTs). To this end, nanotubes in copper and other metals have shown promise for improved properties including electrical systems. Even lighter weight polymers with dispersed nanotubes have shown high electrical conduction with enhanced strength. Furthermore, the Armchair Quantum Wire (AQW) is a conductor cable with great promise that should be a paradigm change in the way power is distributed. The precursor to the AQW that is proposed is the Polymer Nanotube Umbilical (PNU) (conductivity that will be about four times that of copper) because it is an ultra high conductivity wire and can be delivered in the next three years. These last two systems (the AQW and PNU) provide new opportunities for electrical conducting cables that could be used for the new frontiers of oil and gas production. When considering high power requirements and long umbilical tie-back distances, there is a need for new technologies to enable power delivery to the seafloor. Carbon nanotechnology is one such new technology that could enable high power transfer for long tieback distances where lightweight and high power transfer are required. In this proposal, the opportunities from carbon nanotechnology will be described along with the development plan for a new high current density electrical wire (PNU) based on SWCNTs dispersed in a polymer binder. The new wire has the ability to be processed at long lengths with connections that could be made at numerous points along the length. This low current loss wire can be bundled into an umbilical to provide power for communication lines and to operate pumps and other subsea equipment.
Principal Investigator: Dean Hulsey