Amphiphilic nanohybrid catalysts for reactions at the water/oil interface in subsurface reservoirs

Santiago Drexler, Jimmy Faria, M. Pilar Ruiz, Jeffrey H. Harwell, Daniel E. Resasco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


A novel technique is proposed for potential use in oil reservoirs. The technique consists in incorporating amphiphilic nanoparticles into the water injection. These hybrid nanoparticles can simultaneously act as emulsion stabilizers as well as carriers for catalytic species, e.g., metals. They can be active for in situ reactions, such as partial oxidation and hydrogenation, which may result in changes in rheological and interfacial properties of the oil, as well as modifying the wettability of the walls. These changes might be efficiently used to improve the oil recovery process. Specifically, partial oxidation of organic compounds lowers the water-oil interfacial tension and consequently increases the capillary number (N c) of the system. Alternatively, partial hydrogenation of polynuclear aromatics can enhance the viscosity of the oil phase in the emulsion, thus improving the mobility ratio (MR). In addition, partial hydrogenation can be an effective pretreatment of the oil to favor the subsequent partial oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2231-2241
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy & fuels
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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