Role of Phase-Dependent Dielectric Properties of Alumina Nanoparticles in Electromagnetic-Assisted Enhanced Oil Recovery
The utilization of metal-oxide nanoparticles in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has generated considerable research interest to increase the oil recovery. Among these nanoparticles, alumina nanoparticles (Al2O3-NPs) have proved promising in improving the oil recovery mechanism due to their prominent thermal properties. However, more significantly, these nanoparticles, coupled with electromagnetic (EM) waves, can be polarized to reduce water/oil mobility ratio and create disturbances at the
... ces at the oil/nanofluid interface, so that oil can be released from the reservoir rock surfaces and travelled easily to the production well. Moreover, alumina exists in various transition phases (γ, δ, θ, κ, β, η, χ), providing not only different sizes and morphologies but phase-dependent dielectric behavior at the applied EM frequencies. In this research, the oil recovery mechanism under EM fields of varying frequencies was investigated, which involved parameters such as mobility ratio, interfacial tension (IFT) and wettability. The displacement tests were conducted in water-wet sandpacks at 95 °C, by employing crude oil from Tapis. Alumina nanofluids (Al2O3-NFs) of four different phases (α, κ, θ and γ) and particle sizes (25–94.3 nm) were prepared by dispersing 0.01 wt. % NPs in brine (3 wt. % NaCl) together with SDBS as a dispersant. Three sequential injection scenarios were performed in each flooding scheme: (i) preflushes brine as a secondary flooding, (ii) conventional nano/EM-assisted nanofluid flooding, and (iii) postflushes brine to flush NPs. Compared to conventional nanofluid flooding (3.03–11.46% original oil in place/OOIP) as incremental oil recovery, EM-assisted nanofluid flooding provided an increase in oil recovery by approximately 4.12–12.90% of OOIP for different phases of alumina. It was established from these results that the recovery from EM-assisted nanofluid flooding is itself dependent on frequency, which is associated with good dielectric behavior of NPs to formulate the oil recovery mechanism including (i) mobility ratio improvement due to an electrorheological (ER) effect, (ii) interfacial disturbances by the oil droplet deformation, and (iii) wettability alteration by increased surface-free energy.