Katherine Wehde

Katherine Wehde Profile Picture

Chemical Analysis of Complex-Mixtures: from Oil Recovery Techniques to Biofuels

Contact Info:

kwehde@purdue.edu 

Training Group(s):
Chemical Biology

Current Research Interests:

The U.S. consumes an average of 20 million barrels of oil per day which demands a high oil production rate. However, the average oil recovery factor worldwide is only between 20-40 %. We work to assist the efforts to maximize hydrocarbon production and minimize rock formation damage while collecting oil. We have developed and employed a new, miniature coreflood device to quickly screen enhanced oil recovery chemical formulations and the oil produced from a rock core. We aim to better understand the physical chemistry process of how the chemicals are interacting with and releasing oil from rock. On the other side of the energy spectrum, we also work to better understand how biofuels will perform in aircrafts built originally to run on fossil fuels. We compare the chemical composition of a fossil fuel with new and upcoming biofuels. We work with a materials engineering and aviation technology group to also correlate the chemical composition of the biofuels to the physical and material performance.
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