Kazan University has demonstrated really impressive results in its hydrocarbon research recently. We talked about one of such breakthroughs in our article not long ago. Interestingly, a paper on this new research was also published in Energy and Fuels.
Senior Research Associate of the In-Situ Combustion Lab Andrey Galukhin explains, "In-situ combustion is one of the most promising hydrocarbon recovery methods of today and, probably, tomorrow. It can help not only extract oil from deeper horizons but also improve the quality of recovered material. That's a new level. However, there are some issues to be resolved. For example, we at our lab now work on the stability of the combustion front -- this parameter is the key to all the unique opportunities provided by this technology. We have learned to stabilize the front with catalysts".
The catalysts can not only stabilize the front but also accelerate its movement along a reservoir. The current result is 10-fold increase. However, this is not what makes the research unique. KFU employees are the first in the world to try revealing the catalysts' work mechanisms.
"It's basically impossible to observe a catalyst inside a reservoir. The total mass of catalysts used in a reaction is too miniscule. Maybe that's the reason for us being the pioneers in this area. We have had to unite different methods to achieve something. We collaborate with the Institute of Physics, something unheard of previously. Such an opportunity only appeared because of SAU EcoOil", adds Dr. Galukhin.
It's early to speak about a revolution in oil recovery, however. The idea is to create a model that can later be tested with specific catalysts. But some companies have already shown interest. A few days ago Baker Hughes and KFU held negotiations considering in-situ combustion catalysts.