Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Research Seminar Series - Microscale reactive transport toward decarbonization

Microscale reactive transport toward decarbonization

Wen Song, George H. Fancher Assistant Professor of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: Broad, deep, and urgent decarbonization is needed to ensure sustainability on Earth.  Multiple efforts, including carbon storage and renewable energy use, are needed to transition toward a low- to no-carbon future.  Specifically, the disposal of CO2 in a way that minimizes its leakage potential and the recovery of the elements critical to the function of renewable energy technologies (e.g., rare earth elements) are some of the most pressing challenges that limit the pace of decarbonization.  In this talk, I will first show the feasibility of storing CO2 as a solid hydrate material to avoid buoyant migration, where we discover a fundamental coupling between phase and transport that controls the formation and stability of CO2 hydrates stored in the seabed.  Second, I will discuss the recovery of rare earth elements from coal fly ash, where we provide understanding of the reactive transport mechanisms that control REEs extraction from the ash wastes. Collectively, the micro/nanovisual insights here coupled with geochemistry theory and modeling provide a path toward supplying the materials and approaches for a low-carbon future.

Bio: Wen is a George H. Fancher Assistant Professor of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.  Her research aims to understand the multiphase reactive transport mechanisms that control energy and environmental processes in natural and engineered porous media.  Specifically, she develops novel micro/nanovisualization platforms that enable the in situ observation of fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interactions with ~ nm, ~ real-time, and chemical species resolution, and combines experimental observations with geochemistry and fluid mechanics theory to elucidate fundamental pore-level interfacial dynamics within porous materials.  She received her Ph.D. in energy resources engineering from Stanford University in 2019 prior to joining UT Austin, and is a recent recipient of the NSF CAREER, ACS PRF, and EAGE Arie van Weelden Awards.  Webpages:

Patricia Taboada-Serrano
Event Snapshot
When and Where
October 12, 2023
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Room/Location: 1180

Open to the Public

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