Continuous hydrothermal flow synthesis of S-functionalised carbon quantum dots for enhanced oil recovery

Baragau, Ioan-Alexandru; Lu, Zhen; Power, Nicholas P.; Morgan, David J.; Bowen, James; Diaz, Pedro and Kellici, Suela (2021). Continuous hydrothermal flow synthesis of S-functionalised carbon quantum dots for enhanced oil recovery. Chemical Engineering Journal, 405, article no. 126631.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2020.126631

Abstract

Currently, there is a paucity in the exploration and application of carbon-based nanomaterials for enhanced oil recovery. Carbon quantum dots (CQDs), 0D materials consisting of a graphitic core covered by an amorphous carbon framework, were produced from glucose and p-sulfonic acid calix[4]arene (SCX4) via Continuous Hydrothermal Flow Synthesis (CHFS), an environmentally benign synthetic approach. The S-functionalised carbon quantum dots (S-CQDs) demonstrated excellent colloidal stability in aqueous and brine solutions, low retention on sand surface, and impressive enhanced oil recovery (EOR) of 17% at very low concentrations of 0.01 wt%. The mechanisms proposed for CQDs in increasing oil sweeping efficiency involves altering the carbonate rocks wettability towards water wet, and creating temporary log-jamming, where the ultra-small particle size (1.7 ± 0.7 nm) allows S-CQDs to recover oil trapped in tight reservoirs. The synthesised S-CQDs also demonstrate photoluminescence, pH stability in the range of 3–11 and have excitation independent behaviour (300–360 nm) with an emission peak at 433 nm.

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