The extraordinary growth in available natural gas supplies, especially from nonconventional sources, presents the oil and gas exploration and production sectors with new opportunities to increase domestic energy supplies and security and compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace. But production of these reserves also presents several technological and environmental challenges. Working in remote and harsh environments where reserves are located present geotechnical challenges that require better exploration techniques. Traditional methods for purifying and separating natural gas into useful products is also expensive, energy intensive, and release gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen that may contribute to climate change.
Researchers in the Center for Energy and Geo Processing a collaboration between Georgia Tech and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia, are also helping to improve the accuracy and reduce the costs associated with oil and gas drilling. Through the application of advanced digital signal processing to geo signals such as seismic data, the Center identifies and isolates problems in the well and drilling process that that could damage expensive equipment or delay operations.
Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering provides data and services that characterize the porous reservoir rock and all three reservoir fluids - gas, oil and water - to enable oil and gas operators to eliminate the guesswork, improve the accuracy of their core analyses, and maximize oil and gas recovery.
Advanced catalyst and sorbent technologies developed by researchers in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create clean, cost-effective methods for industrial gas separation. Processes remove sulfur from hydrocarbon streams, such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and naphtha, and enable the production of clean liquid fuels from coal and biomass syngas.