The main theme of our research is hydrocarbon energy production and environmental stewardship. There are four major research areas of our activities.
Mathematical modeling of CO2 injection in the subsurface for improved hydrocarbon recovery and sequestration
We use advanced high-order methods to numerically model the species flow in complex subsurface formations and hydrodynamic stability to analyze the onset of buoyancy-driven convection. Advanced thermodynamics principles are included in our modeling of subsurface flow.
Nano-particles in efficient and safe transport in flowline and oil capture
Our nano-particle research activities focus on hydrates and asphaltenes. In hydrates, our work is centered on hydrocarbon capture from the seabed, and on flow assurance in off-shore and in on-shore flowlines using small amounts of surfactants to keep the hydrate phase in small particle sizes. In asphaltenes, our work is on molecular dissolution by acidic surfactants and stabilization of asphaltene colloids by non-ionic surfactants. Our research efforts also include theoretical modeling of self-assembly of molecules in relation to microemulsion.
Shale gas and shale light oil
Our research effort on shale gas relates to production of methane and other light hydrocarbons from the vast shale resources. Thermodynamics of inhomogeneous fluids in small confinements and movement of molecules in shale formations are the focus of our research activities.
Irreversible phenomena in hydrocarbon reservoirs
Many processes in the subsurface are irreversible. Diffusion is a key example. Accurate modeling of diffusion processes under non-isothermal and isothermal conditions can have a major effect on distribution of species in the subsurface and hydrocarbon recovery processes. We study the diffusion processes from both classical irreversible thermodynamics and molecular modeling. Diffusion in the critical region is a major focus.