Use of Engineered Nanoparticle-Stabilized CO2 Foams To Improve Volumetric Sweep of CO2 EOR Processes

PI: Steven L. Bryant; Co-PIs: Chun Huh and Keith P. Johnston (ChE)

Funding source: US Department of Energy (DOE)

Funding amount: $1.2M over a 3-year period

Although enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with CO2 is practiced domestically on large scale, the potential for advancement is enormous. The single greatest obstacle to fully realizing that potential is the inherently poor volumetric sweep efficiency of the process.

 Use of Engineered Nanoparticle-Stabilized CO2 Foams To Improve Volumetric Sweep of CO2 EOR ProcessesThe overall objective of this project is to develop a new CO2-injection EOR process using engineered nanoparticles. The process will have better volumetric sweep efficiency and a wider application range than the conventional CO2 process. The objectives of the research tasks are (i) to identify the characteristics of the optimal nanoparticles that generate extremely stable CO2 foams in situ in the reservoir in regions without oil; (ii) to develop a novel method of mobility control using the "self-guiding" foams with smart nanoparticles, so that the volumetric sweep efficiency of CO2 flooding could be significantly improved, especially in naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs; and (iii) to extend the applicability of the new method to reservoirs with a wide range of salinity, temperature and heterogeneity.