Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. Wen Song


Monday, April 09, 2018


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. Wen Song, Postdoctoral Candidate at the Energy Resources Engineering Department at Stanford University

Title of Seminar: “Pore-Scale Transport towards Sustainable Petroleum and Environmental Resources Development”

Abstract: Sustainable petroleum recovery requires fundamental understanding of the pore-scale fluid-mineral interactions that ultimately dictate multiphase transport through the subsurface. State-of-the-art microfluidics provide powerful direct, real-time pore-scale flow visualization but lacks the representative mineralogy of geological systems that ultimately dictates pore-scale fluid-rock interactions. To understand transport dynamics in petroleum reservoirs, I develop novel real-rock microfluidics with geometric- and mineralogical-representation of geological media and use them to visualize fundamental pore-scale transport dynamics directly. In this talk, I describe techniques to develop real-rock microfluidics and engineering science advances made using real-rock microfluidics.  Specifically, I present the first direct visual observation of crude oil/brine/mineral interactions in subsurface systems, discovery of a clay-stabilized Pickering emulsification mechanism, and application of the fundamental emulsification mechanism towards designing a method that improves hydrocarbon recovery by 8%.  Looking forward, I describe my vision for leveraging real-rock microfluidics to advance engineering science knowledge in key subsurface opportunities for petroleum recovery.

Biography:  I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University advised by Professor Anthony R. Kovscek.  My research focuses on the pore-scale transport and fluid-mineral interactions that dictate petroleum recovery and environmental remediation.  My key contributions towards addressing the grand challenge of supplying reliable, sustainable petroleum to society include pioneering the field of real-rock microfluidics to enable direct, real-time, pore-scale visualization of transport dynamics in microfluidic systems with representative geometric and chemical characteristics.  Using real-rock microfluidics, I have advanced engineering science through the discovery of a fundamental mechanism that underlies the interplay between flow, reaction, and phase formation important to field-scale CO2 storage security, and the discovery of clay micro/nanoparticle-stabilized Pickering emulsification of crude oil and low salinity brine that improves oil recovery by 8%.  Alongside research, I am also passionate about education and service; I co-taught Thermodynamics of Phase Equilibria in Fall 2017 and currently serve as President of the Stanford Energy Club.