Exquisitely thin membranes can slash energy spent refining crude oil into fuel and plastic

Scientists have created a new type of nanomembrane that presents a less energy intensive way to fractionate hydrocarbons from crude oil. The global production of crude oil is currently around 80 million barrels per day. Hydrocarbons extracted from crude oil are the main ingredients for manufacturing fossil fuels, plastics, and polymers. The process by which they are extracted is extremely energy intensive. Membrane technology that can separate the molecules in crude oil by their different sizes and classes could be a far more energy efficient process, consuming 90% less energy.

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