A Green Solution to Microbial Induced Corrosion | Ecolyse, Inc.
Pipeline corrosion is partly caused by Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC) where bacteria gather in biofilms and corrode through oil and gas pipelines. Reservoir souring, in which bacterial infestation results overtly in hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production, necessitates sour service materials and shortens the lifetime and lowers the reliability of any pipe. Sour service alloys and thicker pipe and heavier valves lead to increases in CAPEX and OPEX. The toxic, flammable H2S byproduct increases risk from drill rig to refinery, decreases volume of reserve and value (quality) of oil and gas in the reservoir. Controlling bacterial outbreaks would lower H2S and risk, and retain porosity, oil value and reserves. Currently bacterial problems in industry are treated with toxic, environmentally harmful, marginally successful bactericides. These chemicals take energy to produce, cause pollution during their manufacture, come with handling problems (corrosive, toxic etc.), and have to be safely disposed of following usage.
Phage "cocktails" will be the perfect biocide: targeted, benign to all other life forms, easily disposable, and cheaper than chemical biocides. Phages are natural, found in all environments where bacteria are present, and are water-borne predators of bacteria. In a typical phage cycle, a single phage recognizes and injects its DNA into a specific bacterium. Inside, the phage replicates itself and then releases its progeny by bursting out of the bacteria. In less than an hour, the host is dead and there can be as many as 300 further predatory nanoparticles to seek out further problem causing bacteria. Ecolyse, Inc. aims to isolate and maintain cultures of problem causing bacteria, and to isolate and maintain matching killer phage populations. A mix of phage, or "cocktail", can be injected into a corroding tank, pipe or pipeline to remediate corrosion, into a reservoir to mitigate reservoir souring, or into a cooling system to clear bacterial slime fouling. Possibilities and applications occur across all industry. The objective of Phage Biocontrol is to sharply reduce the use of toxic and environmentally unsound biocides and to harnesses the exponential power of phage: a natural and targeted biological agent.