CMC Managing Director tours labs at the University of Alberta

By Tracy Flach,
Research Analyst

Managing Director, Richard Adamson, went on an exciting lab tour of various CMC-funded research laboratories at the University of Alberta (U of A). Anita Arduini, Program Director and I accompanied him on his tour. The purpose of the visit was to see the researchers and their labs, and to get a quick update on their progress. We also met with David Lynch, U of A Dean of Engineering, for advice on technology transfer to practice.

The day started with a meeting and lab tour with Dr. Japan Trivedi’s group. Dr. Trivedi’s group described how they are creating the polymer-encased gas microbubbles which will be used for COcapture and storage with enhanced oil recovery. Ideally, these CO2 microbubbles will displace oil and gently fill up pores in the reservoir to securely sequester CO2. The team is working hard to understand pore-scale transport using gas microbubbles.

Dr. Sushanta Mitra’s group was visited next. They explained the process they are studying known as methanogenesis in coal beds. In this process, microscopic organisms convert coal into methane and other byproducts. They are working to describe the microbes, their activity, and the biochemical pathways involved in the process. A novel miniaturization approach called ROC (Reservoir-on-a-Chip) will be used to study the oil recovery process in a microfluidic device.

Dr. Mirko Van der Baan’s team was excited to describe and show the innovative micro-seismic computer modeling they were developing. These micro earthquake model simulations will be used to help understand future field studies. Later, this information will help the team understand subtle changes in rock mass due to injected CO2. Their results will help assess the movement and effects of CO2 in geological storage reservoirs.

Dr. Douglas Schmitt is also interested in the seismic behavior of CO2 injected in the subsurface. His group has made an in-house laboratory tool for geophysical monitoring of rock cores. In the future, they hope to characterize the petrophysical properties of reservoir and caprock cores under a variety of environmental conditions during CO2 injection.

Last but not least, David Lynch, Dean of Engineering at the University of Alberta, provided great advice on technology transfer to practice. His suggestion was that CMC compose a quick, one page flow diagram to categorize its researchers and area of interest. For example, they could be categorized as ‘CO2 and SOx capture and storage’ or ‘Water & Tailing treatment’. These flow diagrams can be distributed to industry partners, and they can seek out persons of interest quickly. Overall, it was a very interesting and informative day.