Pore- and Core-Scale Insights of Nanoparticle-Stabilized Foam for CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNanomaterials. 2020, 10 (10), 1917. 10.3390/nano10101917
Nanoparticles have gained attention for increasing the stability of surfactant-based foams during CO2 foam-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and CO2 storage. However, the behavior and displacement mechanisms of hybrid nanoparticle–surfactant foam formulations at reservoir conditions are not well understood. This work presents a pore- to core-scale characterization of hybrid nanoparticle–surfactant foaming solutions for CO2 EOR and the associated CO2 storage. The primary objective was to identify the dominant foam generation mechanisms and determine the role of nanoparticles for stabilizing CO2 foam and reducing CO2 mobility. In addition, we shed light on the influence of oil on foam generation and stability. We present pore- and core-scale experimental results, in the absence and presence of oil, comparing the hybrid foaming solution to foam stabilized by only surfactants or nanoparticles. Snap-off was identified as the primary foam generation mechanism in high-pressure micromodels with secondary foam generation by leave behind. During continuous CO2 injection, gas channels developed through the foam and the texture coarsened. In the absence of oil, including nanoparticles in the surfactant-laden foaming solutions did not result in a more stable foam or clearly affect the apparent viscosity of the foam. Foaming solutions containing only nanoparticles generated little to no foam, highlighting the dominance of surfactant as the main foam generator. In addition, foam generation and strength were not sensitive to nanoparticle concentration when used together with the selected surfactant. In experiments with oil at miscible conditions, foam was readily generated using all the tested foaming solutions. Core-scale foam-apparent viscosities with oil were nearly three times as high as experiments without oil present due to the development of stable oil/water emulsions and their combined effect with foam for reducing CO2 mobility.