Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Oil Industry Struggles Could Be Solved by NASA

As we continue to hear about the deteriorating conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and await word as to the exact cause of the BP oil spill, I am reminded of the many innovations emerging from NASA that can help the oil industry—indeed, almost any industry—tackle their most complex technical challenges.

As far back as 1998, NASA was testing with the use of human hair to soak up oil spills, as reported in Technology Innovation magazine.

We at Fuentek are currently helping NASA’s technology transfer program make several pieces of intellectual property available for licensing—innovations that may benefit the oil industry:

  • NASA’s Integral Battery Power Limiting Circuit technology is designed to limit the power output from a battery without compromising battery lifetime. This could be useful for offshore oil rigs and pipelines. (We blogged about this back in January.)
  • NASA’s ShuttleScan 3-D technology could be used to inspect oil pipelines for corrosion-related defects. (We blogged about this back in December.)
  • NASA has an advanced magnetorestrictive regulator and valve that could be used in oil-flow control machinery. (We blogged about this technology just last month.)
  • NASA is looking for partners to contribute to the development of a new Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) sensor array technology for obtaining multiple, real-time measurements under extreme environmental conditions. This technology could be used by oil refineries.

NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program is tasked with making the agency’s technologies available to industry, universities, and other government labs for the benefit of the nation. NASA technology commercialization successes are chronicled in Spinoff magazine.

Fuentek has been helping NASA with this work since our founding in 2001. It’s work we are proud of and in which we continually strive to achieve success.

If your industry needs a technical solution, why not turn to NASA. Contact us at or call (919) 249-0327.

–By Laura A. Schoppe