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High-Temperature Core Flood Investigation of Nanocellulose as a Green Additive for Enhanced Oil Recovery

1
Department of Geoscience and Petroleum, PoreLab Center of Excellence, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
3
RISE PFI, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(5), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9050665
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nano-Technology for Oil Recovery)
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Abstract

Recent studies have discovered a substantial viscosity increase of aqueous cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) dispersions upon heat aging at temperatures above 90 °C. This distinct change in material properties at very low concentrations in water has been proposed as an active mechanism for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), as highly viscous fluid may improve macroscopic sweep efficiencies and mitigate viscous fingering. A high-temperature (120 °C) core flood experiment was carried out with 1 wt. % CNC in low salinity brine on a 60 cm-long sandstone core outcrop initially saturated with crude oil. A flow rate corresponding to 24 h per pore volume was applied to ensure sufficient viscosification time within the porous media. The total oil recovery was 62.2%, including 1.2% oil being produced during CNC flooding. Creation of local log-jams inside the porous media appears to be the dominant mechanism for additional oil recovery during nano flooding. The permeability was reduced by 89.5% during the core flood, and a thin layer of nanocellulose film was observed at the inlet of the core plug. CNC fluid and core flood effluent was analyzed using atomic force microscopy (AFM), particle size analysis, and shear rheology. The effluent was largely unchanged after passing through the core over a time period of 24 h. After the core outcrop was rinsed, a micro computed tomography (micro-CT) was used to examine heterogeneity of the core. The core was found to be homogeneous. View Full-Text
Keywords: enhanced oil recovery; nanocellulose; petroleum; cellulose nanocrystals; tertiary recovery; crude oil; nanoparticle; CNC; core flood; high temperature; heat aging; rheology modification enhanced oil recovery; nanocellulose; petroleum; cellulose nanocrystals; tertiary recovery; crude oil; nanoparticle; CNC; core flood; high temperature; heat aging; rheology modification
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Aadland, R.C.; Jakobsen, T.D.; Heggset, E.B.; Long-Sanouiller, H.; Simon, S.; Paso, K.G.; Syverud, K.; Torsæter, O. High-Temperature Core Flood Investigation of Nanocellulose as a Green Additive for Enhanced Oil Recovery. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 665.

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