Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. Sally Benson


Monday, March 06, 2017


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. Sally Benson, Co-Director of the Precourt Insititute for Energy/Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project and Professor of Energy Resources Engineering – Stanford University

Seminar Title: “Multiphase Flow of CO2 and Brine in Reservoir Rocks”

Abstract: Carbon dioxide capture and storage in deep saline aquifers is one way of reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels. Key to its success is reliable scientific knowledge about multiphase flow of CO2 and brine in reservoir rocks. In this presentation research about fundamental aspects of multiphase flow of CO2 will be presented. Topics will include laboratory experiments and theoretical studies of the effects of small-scale heterogeneity on relative permeability and residual gas trapping, mobility of exsolved CO2, multiphase flow in fractures, and the stability of residually trapped CO2. Recent advances in synchrotron micro-tomographic imaging and positron emission tomography will also be presented.

Biography: Sally M. Benson joined Stanford University in 2007. She holds three appointments at Stanford: professor of energy resources engineering in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, the campus-wide hub of energy research and education; and director of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP). An internationally recognized scientist, Benson is responsible for fostering cross-campus collaborations on energy and guiding the growth and development of a diverse research portfolio.

Prior to Stanford, Benson was at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a leading research center supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by the University of California. There she held a variety of key positions, including deputy director of operations and director of the Earth Sciences Division.

A groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson is regarded as a leading authority on carbon capture and storage, and emerging energy technologies. In 2012, she served as a convening lead author of the Global Energy Assessment, a multinational project coordinated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Benson and her GCEP colleagues have conducted a groundbreaking series of net energy analyses calculating the energetic costs of wind turbines, solar photovoltaics and grid-scale renewable energy storage. She also leads a research laboratory that studies geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration in saline aquifers. In 2005, she served as a coordinating lead author of a special report on CO2 capture and storage published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2007, she was one of thousands of IPCC scientists to receive the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

The author of more than 160 journal papers and book chapters, she has delivered more than 200 invited talks and has testified at U.S. Congressional hearings on climate change technology and CO2 sequestration.

Benson received a B.S. in geology from Barnard College at Columbia University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials science and mineral engineering from the University of California-Berkeley.