Gemstone Team BACTERIA


Gemstone Honors Program



This project will look at the use of three enzymes in preventing the clumping of hydrocarbons called asphaltenes during the oil refinement process when heavy crude oil needs to be transported through pipelines. Enzymes are easier to standardize experimentally, and potentially, easier to add in an in-situ application. This biological refinement of crude oil is also potentially more sustainable and can reduce the need for harsh chemical and heat treatments that result in tailings waste. Based on current literature related to this project, the research team hypothesizes that a combination of enzymes will be the most effective at degrading clumping known as “cholesterol of pipelines.”