PITA Fiscal Year 2011 Projects

Electrically Assisted Multi-Phase Transport In Clayey Sands

Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Sibel Pamukcu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Co-PI(s): Arup Sengupta, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PA Industry: Electro-Petroleum, Inc.

Oily sands of North America is potentially a vast source of energy, but accessing that oil posses challenges in the physics of fluids and particles. The goal of the proposed research program is to investigate efficacy of electrically induced mass transport through potentially hydrocarbon bearing formations. The project program will be divided into two phases. In the first phase the weight and relative boundaries of the test variables will be established to help develop design charts. In the second phase select types of formations will be tested to develop transport efficiency specifications. Our goal is to look beyond transporting mass in conventional clay materials in an effort to expand the scope of direct electric current application to geological materials not previously evaluated. The data obtained will be examined analytically to develop design charts to establish the boundaries for the feasibility of the procedure with respect to field operational parameters (i.e. voltage gradient & current density) and also formation parameters (i.e. gradation distribution, mineralogy, pore fluid chemistry and oil content) to enhance oil recovery in compact porous clay rich sand formations.