Interview with Young Talents

Ali Akbar Eftekhari

Write shortly about your background
I studied Chemical Engineering - petrochemical processes- in Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran and transport phenomena & separation processes in Sharif University of Technology. After graduation, I worked as a freelance process engineer and process simulation and optimization instructor for two and a half years until 2008, when I moved to lovely Delft, the Netherlands to pursue my PhD studies on low-emission conversion of fossil fuels at the Delft University of Technology. Afterwards, I worked as a Postdoc at TU Delft for three and a half years, where I studied the application of nanotechnology in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), before moving with my wife and our daughter to Denmark to work as a Postdoc researcher in the Centre for Oil and Gas in DTU.

Present your project
I work on the modelling of the modified brine injection for EOR in the North Sea chalk reservoirs. I’m trying to understand the oil-brine and chalk-brine interfaces and the physical mechanisms behind the attractive and repulsive interactions between the chalk and oil surfaces.

What do you expect the major challenges in your area of study will be?
God made the bulk; surfaces were invented by the devil. This famous quote by the renowned physicist Wolfgang Pauli sums up the challenges in my research: surfaces, in general, and chalk and oil surfaces, in particular, are very complicated. The main challenge is to identify the most influential physical mechanisms in the chalk-oil interactions. The other challenge is to describe those mechanisms in the form of relatively simple mathematical models that can be implemented in a reservoir simulator.

How do you plan to contribute in solving these problems? 
My background in Transport Phenomena and Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics has helped me in tackling these challenges. I use the thermodynamics of electrolytes and surface complexation models to write models for the chalk-brine and oil-brine interactions. I feel very lucky to have access to a huge source of Thermodynamic knowledge that is created in the past years in DTU. Additionally, I enjoy the scientific and technical supports of the colleagues in the characterization and core-flooding groups in the Centre. 

What are your expectations for your future career?
I would like to continue my career as a researcher (and teacher) in the field of energy, in academia or industry.