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Departments & Programs


Research Groups

Benson Lab

Affiliated Faculty: Sally Benson
The Benson research group investigates fundamental characteristics of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations as a means of climate change mitigation. Better understanding of the relative permeability of CO2 and brine is essential to this goal. Currently, our focus is to investigate the sensitivity of relative permeability to injection flow-rate and various fluid properties such as viscosity, pressure, temperature, and interfacial tension.

Clean Energy Conversions Group

Affiliated Faculty: Jennifer Wilcox
The Clean Energy Conversions Lab's primary focus is on trace metal (mercury, arsenic, and selenium) and carbon dioxide capture and sequestration processes. The core of the investigations carried out in our group focus on fundamental interfacial chemical phenomena occurring at gas-surface interfaces. Our group works closely with industry to study the fundamental physicochemical processes of applied problems. Specifically we are focusing on (1) trace metal oxidation and capture, (2) carbon capture using dense membrane technology selective for either hydrogen or nitrogen, and (3) carbon sequestration through understanding surface-CO2 interactions.

Environmental Assessment Optimization Group (EAO)

Affiliate Meeting: TBA
Affiliated Faculty: Adam Brandt
This Environmental Assessment and Optimization (EAO) Group focuses on building tools to reduce the environmental impacts of energy systems. The current group focus is on understanding greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from fossil energy systems.  Our approach includes building engineering-based bottom-up life cycle assessment (LCA) models to generate rigorous estimates of environmental impacts from energy extraction and conversion technologies.  Also, we build optimization tools to improve the environmental and economic performance of energy systems.

Our methods are applied primarily to transportation fuels, in an effort to understand and reduce the environmental impacts of conventional petroleum and substitutes for conventional petroleum (e.g., oil sands, oil shale).  We are also currently developing optimization capabilities for carbon dioxide capture and storage technologies.  A third area of interest is in the mathematical modeling of petroleum resource depletion and the shifts to alternative energy resources

Smart Fields Consortium (SFC)

Affiliate Meeting: Nov. 13-14, 2014
Affiliated Faculty: Khalid Aziz, Biondo Biondi, Louis Durlofsky, Jerry Harris, Roland Horne, Tapan Mukerji, Amos Nur, Michael Saunders, Marco Thiele, Benjamin Van Roy and Yinyu Ye
Our aim in SFC is to develop efficient software tools for the optimization of oil field development and operations. This includes a wide range of algorithms for optimization, data assimilation and model updating (history matching), fast flow simulation, and handling uncertainty. Techniques being developed by our group are essential for the success of smart fields, also known in industry as i-fields, e-fields, integrated operations, field of the future, etc. Traditional approaches for developing and operating oil and gas fields are rarely optimal, and the gains achieved by deploying these new technologies can be very significant for both existing and new fields. The computational techniques developed in SFC are also applicable for optimizing geological carbon storage operations as well as large-scale integrated energy systems.

Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS)

Affiliate Meeting: May 21-22, 2014
Affiliated Faculty: Sally Benson, Anthony Kovscek, and Mark Zoback
A broad range of fundamental scientific questions must be addressed to consider implementation of large-scale projects of geological CO2 storage and sequestration within the next several decades. Building upon the successful CO2 storage research undertaken over the past eight years in the Global Climate and Energy Project, twelve Stanford professors from the Departments of Energy Resources Engineering, Geological and Environmental Sciences and Geophysics have established a new research consortium: The Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) investigates questions related to sequestration in saline aquifers and shale and coal formations, as well as in mature or depleted oil and gas reservoirs as part of enhanced recovery/sequestration/storage projects. This collaborative and multidisciplinary effort addresses critical questions related to flow physics and chemistry, simulation of the transport and fate of CO2 in geologic media, rock physics, geophysical monitoring, and geomechanics.

Stanford Center for Reservoir Forecasting (SCRF)

Affiliate Meeting: May 06-07, 2015
Affiliated Faculty: Jef Caers and Tapan Mukerji
SCRF was initiated in 1988 to further the development of techniques for forecasting reservoir performance and for integrating geological, geophysical and reservoir engineering data. The SCRF group performs paradigm-changing research in the field of geostatistics and numerical reservoir modeling. We are not bound by the limited extent of project-based research with its short-term deadlines and limited scope. This long-term perspective has lead to revolutionary changes in reservoir modeling, amongst which: the introduction of stochastic simulation in reservoir modeling, GSLIB as a standard geostatistical software package, the advent of multiple-point geostatistics, practical solutions for large-scale inverse problems with geological constraints, an open-source software termed S-GEMS, and techniques for modeling uncertainty. The funding mechanism of SCRF has created a long-term think-tank where a group of faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars and industry experts come together to tackle problems of first-order importance in quantitative modeling of space-time varying phenomena and their applications in reservoir modeling.

Stanford Geothermal Program

Annual Workshop: January 26-28, 2015
Affiliated Faculty: Roland Horne
The primary objective of the Stanford Geothermal Program is the development of reservoir engineering techniques to allow for the production of the nation's geothermal resources in the most efficient manner possible. To this end, the investigation topics are chosen to provide greatest impact in identifying and overcoming field problems which are either current or imminent. The primary focus in the immediate future will be the investigation of reinjection into vapor-dominated reservoirs such as The Geysers. This investigation will require the study of the effects of adsorption during injection, as well as the examination of the mechanisms of boiling in vapor filled porous rock.

SUPRI-A (Stanford University Petroleum Research Institute): Enhanced Recovery of Oil and Unconventional Resources

Affiliate Meeting: April 16-17, 2015
Affiliated Faculty: Anthony Kovscek
The research of SUPRI-A is relevant to so-called unconventional resources that are hard to produce with conventional techniques. Unconventional resources of current interest to the group are heavy and viscous oils and fractured, heterogeneous porous media containing hydrocarbons. With respect to the future significant new effort is envisioned. In addition to the dynamics of unstable flows, we plan an examination of the role of noncondensable gases on the gravity drainage of viscous oil from heterogeneous media. We will continue our efforts to develop cost-effective methods to produce oil and gas from tight rocks, such as diatomite, siliceous shale, and coal as well as consider the use of polymers and surfactants to enable cold production.

SUPRI-B (Stanford University Petroleum Research Institute): Reservoir Simulation

Affiliate Meeting: May 04-05, 2015
Affiliated Faculty: Khalid Aziz, Louis Durlofsky and Hamdi Tchelepi
Reservoir simulation entails the development and implementation of efficient computational techniques for the accurate numerical solution of the equations governing multicomponent, multiphase flow in porous subsurface formations. It also includes the detailed modeling of wellbore flow, accurate representation of advanced wells, and integration of the reservoir model with production facilities. Our recent research additionally targets the development of capabilities required for modeling long-term carbon storage and in-situ upgrading of energy resources. We work in virtually all aspects of reservoir simulation, and our research program is constantly evolving to meet current challenges and students' interests.

SUPRI-D (Stanford University Petroleum Research Institute): Well Test Interpretation

Affiliate Meeting: May 08, 2015
Affiliated Faculty: Roland Horne and Hamdi Tchelepi
Innovative well test interpretation techniques that can make use of the new measurements and new computer capabilities now available have already been shown to provide more reliable results and less expensive tests. We aim to explore new ways to improve further on these successes, and to investigate novel approaches in the interpretation of oil, gas, geothermal and water well tests.

Wyoming Carbon Capture and Storage Project

Affiliated Faculty: Sally Benson, Adam Brandt, Louis Durlofsky, Anthony Kovscek, Jennifer Wilcox and Mark Zoback
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) can reduce the environmental impacts of our energy use. Because of the large scale and inertia of our electric power system, significant changes in the power mix will take decades to achieve. CCS can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel power generation in the interim, giving renewable power sources time to expand. Also, in a future electricity grid powered largely by renewable resources, there will be a need for constant, reliable baseload power generation. CCS could help provide this power with minimal greenhouse gas impacts. This learning laboratory brings together researchers from ERE and Geophysics to work on a variety of topics associated with integrated, full-scale CCS projects. Much of the data actually used in our studies is from Wyoming, which is the leading coal producing state and is actively pursuing CCS.