Two UT PGE Faculty Awarded Energize Grants

August 31, 2022

Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Associate Professor David DiCarlo and Assistant Professor Yingda Lu have each received research funding through the new Energize Program, a collaboration between The University of Texas at Austin and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The program is a new opportunity for enhanced scientific collaboration between the two institutions focused on energy research.

Dr. David DiCarloDr. DiCarlo will work with UT PGE’s Professor Maša Prodanović and SwRI’s Angel Wileman and Sarah Stuart to study CO2 foams in an effort to improve long-term carbon storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Although carbon storage is a viable method for reducing atmospheric carbon, there are significant challenges in ensuring the stored CO2 is stable within the reservoir and does not permeate back to the surface. To address this, the researchers will leverage traditional CO2 enhanced oil recovery methods to investigate the stability and behavior of foam-entrapped CO2 in high-temperature and high-pressure reservoir conditions.

Dr. Yingda LuDr. Lu will collaborate with SwRI’s Kevin Supak, Jordan Nielson and Kelsi Katcher to study CO2 pipeline flow behaviors as part of a larger effort to facilitate large-scale carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS). Before CCUS technology can reach its potential for reducing harmful CO2 emissions, a cost-effective method for transporting large quantities of CO2 is needed. To facilitate the design and operation of large-scale CCUS transportation systems, the project team will investigate the flow behaviors of CO2 under typical pipeline transportation conditions. The project utilizes UT Austin’s expertise in multiphase flow modeling and SwRI’s expertise in large-scale multiphase flow research.

In total, five projects received funding in the Energize Program’s inaugural year. Two projects — DiCarlo’s and Lu’s — were funded and will be run by UT PGE. These and future projects selected by UT PGE will focus on any field of energy-related research, including oil and gas, renewable resources, hydrogen, carbon storage, and geothermal energy. The remaining three projects for 2022, overseen by UT Austin’s Energy Institute, will focus on decarbonization. All projects that are part of the Energize Program include at least one principal investigator from UT Austin and one from SwRI.