School of Engineering
Green enhanced oil recovery (GEOR) is an environmentally friendly enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process involving the injection of green fluids to improve macroscopic and microscopic sweep efficiencies while boosting tertiary oil production. Carbon nanomaterials such as graphene, carbon nanotube (CNT), and carbon dots have gained interest for their superior ability to increase oil recovery. These particles have been successfully tested in EOR, although they are expensive and do not extend to GEOR. In addition, the application of carbon particles in the GEOR method is not well understood yet, requiring thorough documentation. The goals of this work are to develop carbon nanoparticles from biomass and explore their role in GEOR. The carbon nanoparticles were prepared from date leaves, which are inexpensive biomass, through pyrolysis and ball-milling methods. The synthesized carbon nanomaterials were characterized using the standard process. Three formulations of functionalized and non-functionalized date-leaf carbon nanoparticle (DLCNP) solutions were chosen for core floods based on phase behavior and interfacial tension (IFT) properties to examine their potential for smart water and green chemical flooding. The carboxylated DLCNP was mixed with distilled water in the first formulation to be tested for smart water flood in the sandstone core. After water flooding, this formulation recovered 9% incremental oil of the oil initially in place. In contrast, non-functionalized DLCNP formulated with (the biodegradable) surfactant alkyl polyglycoside and NaCl produced 18% more tertiary oil than the CNT. This work thus provides new green chemical agents and formulations for EOR applications so that oil can be produced more economically and sustainably.
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