Engineering Projects

Projects are subject to change without notice.

Title: Experimental Investigation of the Phenomenon of CO2-Reservoir Oil Miscibility in Terms of the Minimum Miscibility Pressure (MMP)

The efficient and cost-effective design, implementation, and operation of CO2 injection-based enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) and/or simultaneous CO2-EOR and storage projects in depleted oil reservoirs rely on accurate characterization and determination of the phenomenon of CO2-reservoir miscibility in terms of the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP). As the name suggests, the MMP refers to a minimum injection pressure at which a complete mixing between injected CO2 and reservoir oil can be achieved without worrying about their relative proportions present in the reservoir pores during the injection. The complete mixing between injected CO2 and reservoir oil ultimately results in both the increased oil recovery from the reservoir and the increased storage of injected CO2 in the reservoir. Hence, a better understanding of both the CO2-reservoir oil miscibility phenomenon and the MMP is necessary for the design, implementing, and operating simultaneous CO2-EOR and geologic CO2 storage projects, which are gaining popularity around the world for their role in reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions while potentially turning the fossil fuels (e.g. coal, oil, and gas) into cost-effective renewable energy resources.

In this research project, a newly built high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) optical cell system, which was recently acquired using the fund given by Chevron to develop the Engineering Sciences program and to promote petroleum engineering-related education and research at CSUB, will be used for experimentally investigating the phenomenon of CO2-reservoir oil miscibility and for determining the CO2-reservoir oil MMP using the Vanishing Interfacial Tension (VIT) technique.

For characterizing the CO2-reservoir oil miscibility in terms of the MMP for a given CO2-reservoir oil system, multi-contact interfacial interactions between CO2 and reservoir oil will be visualized using the HPHT optical cell at several elevated pressures steps and representative reservoir temperature. Both the pendant drop method and height of capillary rise technique will be used to qualitatively determine the condition of “no interface or zero interfacial tension (IFT)” condition and thus the MMP. The absence of interface between the equilibrated CO2-rich and reservoir oil-rich phases (i.e. “no interface or zero IFT” condition) signifies the achievement of miscibility between injected CO2 and reservoir oil.

The experiments will be conducted using representative reservoir oil samples collected from the depleted oil fields which have already been identified as top candidates for launching simultaneous CO2-EOR and geologic CO2 storage projects in petroleum-rich San Joaquin Valley of California. The results of this study are expected to provide the MMP value needed for cost-effective and efficient design, implementation, and operation of any future simultaneous CO2-EOR and geologic CO2 storage project in the candidate depleted oil reservoirs.

The participating students will get an opportunity to work on a complex but easy-to-operate HPHT experimental system. They will also be introduced to other experimental and non-experimental approaches that are commonly used for characterizing and determining the CO2-reservoir oil miscibility in terms of the MMP.


Title: Visual Demonstration of the Effect of Ocean Water Rise on Living Conditions in Low Elevation Coastal Area

 Rise of ocean water level is associated with increase in temperature of ocean water.  Rise of water level, in turn, has a direct significant negative impact on the living conditions on low elevation islands.  As the ocean water level continues to increase, these islands become mostly submerged which results in significant negative impacts on the quality of life and social well-being of their inhabitants.

Participants in the REVS UP 2019 project will conduct literature review to become familiar with the established causes and effects of the rise of ocean water level and will learn how to estimate ocean water level rise due to an increase in temperature.  The participants will also work on a hands-on project to design, place purchase orders for required materials, equipment, instrumentation, and build an experimental set up to demonstrate the effects of the rise of ocean water level on living conditions on low elevation islands.


Title: Experimental characterization of flow regimes in a pipe

Fluid mechanics is an important area of engineering that finds its applications in several industries such as petroleum, water resources, agriculture, aerospace, and energy. Measurement of flow through pipes and characterization of flow regimes is a common task that research engineers perform in the industry. As part of this project, a group of 7-10 students will use different liquids and characterize flow as laminar, transitional and turbulent.

First part of the experiments will involve injecting a dye in water as it flows through a transparent horizontal pipe. The mass flowrate is a function of the cross-sectional area, flow velocity, and liquid density as shown in equation (1):

m = Avr ,………………………………………………………………………………………. (1)

 where  m is the mass flowrate,  v  is the flow velocity,  r is the density of liquid, and  A is the area of cross section of the pipe. Therefore, based on the measured liquid mass flowrate and measured cross sectional area of the pipe, and known liquid density, the flow velocity will be calculated. Next, Reynolds number is calculated using equation (2):

Re = rvD m …………………………………………………………………………………… (2)

where Re is Reynolds number, D is the pipe diameter, and m is the liquid viscosity. Flow is laminar when Re < 2000, and it is turbulent when Re > 4000. Between Re values of 2000 and 4000, flow is transitional. Students will be able to visualize laminar flow by watching the parabolic profile of the injected dye in water flowing through the transparent pipe. Finally, a high-quality video of the experiment will be created. Additional experiments will be performed with liquids having different dynamic viscosities.