Professor Lauren Zarzar Receives ACS PRF Award

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07 March 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State, who was recently awarded a Doctoral New Investigator grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

 

The Petroleum Research Fund aims to support fundamental research in the petroleum field and to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists through support of advanced scientific education.

 

The award will fund Dr. Zarzar’s research into hydrate formation and agglomeration in Pickering emulsions. The grant will also support one PhD student, who will join Dr. Zarzar in designing experiments, setup, and analyzing results. Gas hydrates, or clathrate hydrates, are ice-like solids composed of host water molecule “cages” and small hydrophobic guest molecules such as methane or carbon dioxide. Dr. Zarzar hopes their work will lead to fundamental understanding of how hydrates behave in emulsions that may ultimately help to mitigate the formation of gas hydrate blockages in oil and gas pipelines, a problem that is becoming increasingly common in sub-sea oil production and transport.

 

Dr. Zarzar and her group aim to investigate whether particles that assemble at oil-water interfaces—Pickering stabilizers—can be effective in addressing the problem of hydrate plug formation. As Dr. Zarzar explains, “particles are well known to be highly effective emulsion stabilizers, but few studies have examined their use in reduction of hydrate production and prevention of hydrate agglomeration.”

 

Dr. Zarzar notes that this research will be an important contribution to efforts to transport oil and gas more efficiently, thus protecting the future of the energy resources that fuel the global economy. “The prevention of hydrate plugs in pipelines is a significant problem that leads to reduced efficiency in oil transportation and extensive safety hazards,” she adds, “development of additives that aid in stabilization of hydrate dispersions, or being able to predict the probability of a plug from the contents of the particulate and fluid matter in the pipeline, would be immensely useful in preventing such hydrate plugs from forming.”

                                                                                                                                           

Funds from the award will support this important work. Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating Dr. Zarzar as she pursues this exciting research.   


Maria Landschoot

Communications Coordinator

Department of Chemistry

Penn State University

 

             

 

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