Chemical & Biological Engineering Seminar
Developing the Science and Engineering of Clathrate Hydrates for Energy Applications
Clathrate gas hydrates pose the major flow assurance problem in the production and transportation of oil and gas. Managing the formation of gas hydrates is central for safe and continuous operation of flowlines. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the Center for Hydrate Research and its efforts toward better understanding the formation and accumulation of hydrates in multiphase flowlines. The talk will highlight specific projects in the Center aimed at quantifying how hydrates can be managed by first understanding the fundamental processes for nucleation, growth, agglomeration, deposition, and plugging, knowledge in these areas that have been accumulated over decades of research. One specific area that will be discussed in greater length is the formation mechanism of hydrates, which remains poorly understood despite its fundamental significance and importance. The challenges associated with describing hydrate nucleation and growth mechanisms remain at the forefront of fields such as hydrogen storage, carbon dioxide sequestration, and hydrocarbon transportation and recovery. Various mechanisms of hydrate formation have been postulated, most involving the annealing of an amorphous or partially-ordered aggregation of cages into the thermodynamically-preferred crystal structures. I will present our efforts in understanding clathrate hydrate nucleation and growth using molecular simulations, including defining the thermodynamics phase space and direct simulations capturing the different stages through the nucleation and growth processes.