1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Professor of Petroleum Engineering
Room 4020, Engineering Building
University of Wyoming
College of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Petroleum Engineering
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
Current and Proposed Research
Pollution Prevention Using Supercritical Fluids (SCF), DOE/EPSCoR Funded Project Phase II. The atomization of ultra-high viscosity (UHV) materials is a critical component in many industrial processes (spray coating, spray drying, heavy oil/waste combustion). Unfortunately, present atomization technologies are limited to viscosities of less than approximately 500 cP. Consequently, the current approach to atmozing these materials is to thin with solvents, whose (VOC) emissions are severely restricted, or to heat the fluid stream. At best, this approach results in significant emissions. More significantly, new materials that offer significant process advances are not used since they cannot be atomized with present atomization technologies that rely on hydrodynamic instability mechanisms. In contrast, SCF using carbon dioxide offers the potential to atomize UHV materials with minimal environmental impact and at low cost. The goal of this research is to establish the rheological bounds for SCF and to identify potential areas of industrial application in coating industries. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy/EPSCoR program through 1999. Currently, two M.S. degree students (Sarah Sizemore and Matt Hittle) are working on this project. This project is in collaboration with Dr. William Lindberg (Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. Paul Dellenback (Mechanical Engineering).
Processes for Remediation of Hydrocarbon Sources of Groundwater Contamination, DOE/EPSCoR Funded Project, Phase II. Remediation of sites with subsurface contamination due to accidental spills, leaking underground tanks, and illegal disposal is a widely recognized need. These light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) (hydrocarbons) are the pollutants that are sparingly soluble in water and exhibit different properties in the subsurface than do the dissolved contaminant plumes. This research deals with some new techniques for residual LNAPL saturation and remediation. The proposed research focuses on developing an in-situ technology using surfactants and electrokinetics. The objective is to examine the basic mechanisms governing the performance of the process under different operating ranges of parameters, and finally develop a predictive model for the design and operation of the process. This project is in collaboration with Civil and Architectural Engineering Professors (Drs. Foster, Reddy, Edgar), Renewable Resources professor Dr. Vance, and Electrical Engineering Professor Dr. Ula.
Development of a Combination Process for Soil Remediation With Co-Contaminants (Heavy Metals and Petroleum Hydrocarbons) Using Enhanced Electrokinetics and Surfactant Treatment (Funding Pending, U.S. DOE): This research project is in collaboration with the Argonne National Laboratory (Dr. Robert Peters). The scientific and technical problem that we are addressing is of current relevance to DOE energy programmatic needs. With new emerging and stringent clean-up regulations, conventional baseline remediation technologies for contaminated soil and groundwater are fast becoming obsolete. The national challenge is to develop alternative new remediation technologies and/or to improve the technical and economic performance of the existing or emerging technologies using innovative enhancements. Conventional Electrokinetic Remediation (EKR) is an attractive alternative technology for contaminated soils and groundwater cleanup from heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons, but it has been found to be slow and uneconomical. The technical objective of this project is to improve the understanding and development of the conventional EKR technology by modifying and combining it with other novel phenomena (such as synergy of co-contaminants, surfactants, and dielectrophoretic forces) to the point where it can be used in field (site) remediation demonstration studies effectively and economically. The proposed technology has relevancy for application to several DOE sites which have petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals present as co-contaminants. The technical approach to be used involves combining and optimizing surfactant flushing, electrokinetics, and dielectrokinetics to treat soils contaminated with heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons.
Innovative Technologies To Treat Oil-Water Separator Sludge (Funding Pending, DOD-Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program): This research is in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, University of Alabama, and University of Illinois. The development of non-conventional innovative candidate technologies and methods for site treatment and volume reduction of oil/water separator sludge generated from Industrial Waste Treatment Plants (IWTPs) and other DoD facilities and operations is one of the high priority needs of the U.S. Department of Defense. This problem is also of interest to many other industries. Such sludge contain a mix of particulate, oil, biological matters, water, and in some cases heavy metals. On the basis of the mix coming from different sources and oil/water separators (e.g., wash racks, maintenance facilities, aircraft washdown facilities, bilgewater, etc.) there are two classes of sludge that need to be treated: Sludge which contain large amount of particulate matter and relatively small amounts (less than 20%) oils and greases, and Sludge which contain primarily oils and greases and small amounts of particulate. The objective of this research is to develop an improved Solid-Liquid Separation Technology concept by innovatively combining several relatively new and scientifically demonstrated phenomena and properties in a single operation to be able to meet the performance, maintenance, and operating cost requirements of the sludge treatment. Our primary purpose is to separate oils, water and greases from the particulate materials using