Advances of Spontaneous Emulsification and its Important Applications in Enhanced Oil Recovery Process
Emulsions, including oil-in-water (O/W) and water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions, can play important roles in both controlling reservoir conformance and displacing residual oil for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects. However, current methods, like high-shear mixing, high-pressure homogenizing, sonicators and others, often use lots of extra energy to prepare the emulsions with high costs but very low energy efficiency. In recent decades, spontaneous emulsification methods, which allow one to create micro- and nano-droplets with very low or even no mechanical energy input, have been launched as an overall less expensive and more efficient alternatives to current high extra energy methods. Herein, we primarily review the basic concepts on spontaneous emulsification, including mechanisms, methods and influenced parameters, which are relevant for fundamental applications for industrials. The spontaneity of the emulsification process is influenced by the following variables: surfactant structure, concentration and initial location, oil phase composition, addition of co-surfactant and non-aqueous solvent, as well as salinity and temperature. Then, we focus on the description of importance for emulsions in EOR processes from advances and categories to improving oil recovery mechanisms, including both sweep efficiency and displacement efficiency aspects. Finally, we systematically address the applications and outlooks based on the use of spontaneous emulsification in the practical oil reservoirs for EOR processes, in which conventional, heavy, high-temperature, high-salinity and low-permeability oil reservoirs, as well as wastewater treatments after EOR processes are involved.
Z. Li et al., "Advances of Spontaneous Emulsification and its Important Applications in Enhanced Oil Recovery Process," Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, vol. 277, Elsevier B.V., Mar 2020.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cis.2020.102119
Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering
Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)
Keywords and Phrases
Displacement and sweep efficiencies; Enhanced oil recovery (EOR); Low extra energy; O/W and W/O emulsions; Oil reservoirs; Spontaneous emulsification
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Article - Journal
© 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
01 Mar 2020