Rice student simplifies search for ice that burns

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: [email protected] student simplifies search for ‘ice that burns’Chemical engineering’s Bhatnagar wins awards for hydrate researchGiven that there’s more carbon trapped inside ice-like crystals under the seafloor than in all the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves combined, it seems like it would be easy to find. Up to now that hasn’t been the case, but thanks to the award-winning research of Rice University graduate student Gaurav Bhatnagar, the search for gas hydrates just got easier.Bhatnagar, a chemical engineering doctoral student in the lab of George Hirasaki, has expressed the results of complex computer models in terms of dimensionless groups or variables that make it much easier to predict where gas hydrates will form and in what quantity.“Gaurav’s accomplishments have earned him a substantial reputation as a quality researcher,” said Hirasaki, the A.J. Hartsook Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “Whereas previous models required about a dozen parameters and typically characterized hydrates only for a particular set of conditions, Gaurav’s models are made general by combining multiple variables into dimensionless groups or variables. For example, he was able to create a system that combined hundreds of simulations into just two composite plots with dimensionless variables.”The quality of Bhatnagar’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2006, he won the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Gulf Coast Regional Student Paper Contest, the SPE’s International Student Paper Contest and an Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The latter award will be presented at the AGU’s May meeting in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bhatnagar is slated to present his latest findings. In his new research, Bhatnagar’s developed a way to use a single variable – depth of the sulfate-methane interfacelast_img