Evaluation of Nanoparticle-Stabilized Emulsions For Improved Oil Recovery

Steven L. Bryant

Funding source: Amercian Chemical Society/Petroleum Research Fund (ACS/PRF)

Funding amount: $100K

The rationale for this project is the possibility of overcoming a long-standing limitation on improved oil recovery. The viscosity of a fluid injected to displace oil, such as water, CO2 or surfactant solution, is often smaller than the viscosity of the oil. In this situation, increasing the viscosity of the injected fluid significantly increases the recovery efficiency. Emulsification is one way to increase viscosity, but many current methods to stabilize emulsions are expensive or poorly suited to large-scale application. Stabilization with surface-modified nanoparticles could overcome these problems.

The scientific objectives of this project are to establish the thermal stability of a class of nanoparticle-stabilized emulsions; to characterize the rheology of such emulsions; and to determine how such emulsions propagate through sedimentary rocks, with and without oil in the pore space.