LSU Petroleum Engineering Professor Receives DOE Grant for CO2 Storage

Femi Olorode

September 14, 2023 

BATON ROUGE, LA – LSU Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering Assistant Professor Olufemi Olorode recently received a $525,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program to research carbon dioxide storage in gas hydrates using coarse-grained molecular dynamics (MD).

“I was very excited to receive this grant because it is my first as a sole principal investigator,” Olorode said. “This research focuses on understanding how we can address the global warming problem by storing carbon dioxide in ice-like structures called CO2 hydrates. We will study how to increase the rate at which CO2 hydrates are formed since this can facilitate the safe storage of large quantities of CO2.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), CO2 in the atmosphere increases the natural greenhouse effect, causing global temperatures to rise. The annual rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past 60 years is about 100 times faster than previous natural increases, such as those that occurred at the end of the last ice age 11,000-17,000 years ago. Based on air bubbles trapped in mile-thick ice cores, scientists discovered that atmospheric CO2 did not exceed 300 ppm during the Ice Age. Before the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s, atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm or less. In 2023, atmospheric CO2 hit a record high of 417 ppm. Olorode’s research aims to ultimately decrease this number.

Olorode and his group of researchers will perform MD simulations, which involve allowing CO2 molecules and water to move around in a box at pressure and temperature values that are favorable for the formation of a CO2 hydrate. They will also estimate the rate at which the CO2 hydrate grows in the presence of different chemicals that can enhance CO2 hydrate formation.

“The proposed coarse-grained and deep-learning methods will allow us to simulate systems with millions of molecules and generate statistically significant results,” Olorode said. “We anticipate that our estimation of area-normalized hydrate formation rates from these large-scale MD simulations will match experimental results and provide deeper insights into the kinetics of CO2 hydrate formation with and without promoters. The proposed research studies, methodologies, and tools will facilitate the development of clean energy technologies to safely, efficiently, and commercially store gases like CO2, hydrogen, and methane as hydrates in the subsurface or permafrost.”

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Contact: Libby Haydel
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