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PE Distinguished Seminar: Dr. Abbas Firoozabadi

April 19, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Firoozabadi headshotMolecular Structure, Functional Molecules, Molecule Simulations and Classical Thermodynamics in Relation to Efficient Hydrocarbon Energy Production and Stewardship of the Environment

Professor Abbas Firoozabadi
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
Reservoir Engineering Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, USA
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In the last few years, there has been acceleration in introduction of new ideas for more efficient production of hydrocarbons from subsurface formations and the stewardship of the environment. Two items stand out: 1- use of functional molecules in very small quantities to alter properties, and 2- use of atomistic, molecular, and mesoscopic scale simulations to engineer effective molecules and compute physical, rheological and mechanical properties of rocks and fluid-rock systems. In general, most developments are based on concepts from thermodynamics of fluids and solids. Despite the importance of rocks and deformable material, most research activities have focused on thermodynamics of fluids. There have been major theoretical issues when views from fluid have been extended to deformable solids.

This presentation will cover efficiency of IOR by ultra-low surfactant concentration as a more effective IOR in replacing low salinity water injection, and need to engineering of new molecules in variety of applications. Fracturing of formations, CO2 viscosification, fluid-rock interaction, and mechanical properties of deformable media are included in the presentation.


The research interests of Abbas relate to efficient production from subsurface conventional/unconventional hydrocarbon formations and renewable energy production from geothermal reservoirs. His  current teaching focuses on bulk phase thermodynamics of fluids and solids and fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interfaces. Topics of his current research relates to CO2 fracking, CO2 IOR, and CO2 sequestration through viscosification, IOR by ultra-low concentration of functional molecules, flow assurance also by low concentration of effective molecules. His numerical  research activities include numerical simulation of fracking and multiphase flow in complex subsurface formations and molecular engineering through molecular simulations. The goal is to evaluate existing molecules of know chemical formula and use molecular engineering to synthesize molecules that at very low concentrations can lead to efficiency and effectiveness. The stewardship of the environment and renewable energy from the subsurface are  major considerations.

In the last twenty years, Abbas has been a professor/visiting professor at Imperial College London, University of Texas Auston, Yale University, Peking University and Tokyo University.

Abbas has authored two books on Thermodynamics, some 250 Journal papers, and has received 4 major awards of SPE including the Anthony Lucas Gold Medal. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Abbas has a BS degree from Abadan Institute of Technology, Abadan, Iran, MS and PhD degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Il. All the three degrees are in gas engineering. Abbas also did post doc work at the University of Michigan, Chemical Engineering Department.