Mineral Alteration of Shales by CO2 and Brine Containing Surfactants

Charles J. Werth, Professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has announced the funding of a new project: Mineral Alteration of Shales by CO2 and Brine Containing Surfactants.

Werth will be working together with Co-Investigator Kishore Mohanty, also a Professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Dr. Lynn Katz in the Cockrell School.

The objectives of this project are to determine the effect of shale mineralogy and surfactant properties on surfactant adsorption and wettability alteration, determine the effects of surfactant adsorption and wettability alteration on mineral reactivity with CO2 and brine for varying hydrodynamic conditions, and develop a modified mineral reaction model with CO2 and brine that considers the effects of surfactant adsorption, wettability alteration, and/or hydrodynamic flow. The ultimate goal of the proposed work is develop new constitutive relationships for mineral dissolution that account for surfactant adsorption and protection as a function of brine composition, thermodynamic conditions and hydrodynamic flow. There are presently no models in the literature that do this, and no effort to account for this effect in geological carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and/or hydraulic fracturing models. Hence, this work has the potential to transform our understanding and approach to modeling the reaction of minerals in the presence of engineered and natural surfactants.

The project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.