Torotrak to Present Paper Advocating Flywheel Hybrid System for Buses at SAE Commercial Vehicle Conference
Toyota Aims to Reduce Fuel Cell Vehicle Cost to 1/10 of Current By Commercialization in 2015; Reduction to Another 1/10 With Scale

New Carl Zeiss Workstation Enables Nanoscale Analysis of Hydrocarbon Deposits in Shale Rock

Houston-based Ingrain, a provider of digital rock physics services to oil and gas companies worldwide, is now using a Carl Zeiss SMT AURIGA CrossBeam workstation to improve the analysis of shale rock’s porosity and permeability in order to more accurately predict the shale’s suitability for the commercial extraction of oil or gas.

A shale vRock. The pores are green. The vRock shows porosity of 0.08—i.e., 0.08 cubic centimeters of void per cubic centimeter (8%). Source: Ingrain. Click to enlarge.

The CrossBeam workstation, already applied in the material, life sciences, and semiconductor industries, generates high-resolution 3D images that are used to create the Ingrains’s vRock (a complete digital capture of the actual fabric of the original rock sample) digital reservoir rocks from shale rock samples. Ingrain then uses proprietary simulation technologies to analyze the samples for fluid flow. The company has been using micro-CT (Computed Tomography) technology for its imaging work.

Ingrain’s process works equally well with samples taken from core plugs, oil sands samples or drill cuttings to calculate:

  • Porosity: Vv/Vt (% total, connected and isolated porosity)
  • Absolute permeability: Permeability (mD) in X, Y and Z directions
  • Electrical properties: Formation factor (S/m) in X, Y and Z directions
  • Elastic properties: Bulk modulus (K), compressional velocity (Vp), Young’s modulus (E), Shear modulus (G), Shear velocity (Vs), Poisson’s ratio

The AURIGA CrossBeam workstation integrates a focused ion beam (FIB) system and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) in one instrument. The FIB system acts like a nanoscale scalpel to remove very thin slices of material from a sample—such as shale rock—while the SEM provides high resolution images of the rock’s structure, revealing and distinguishing between voids and minerals. The AURIGA FIB/SEM fully automates these functions to produce consecutive image slices as thin as 5 nm, which can be reconstructed to form a 3-D image of the rock.

The core of the AURIGA CrossBeam workstation is the proven GEMINI FE-SEM column. Its special in-lens Energy-selected Backscatter (EsB) detector generates images with superior materials contrast. Another important feature unique to CrossBeam workstations is simultaneous milling and high-resolution SEM imaging, according to Carl Zeiss.

The AURIGA also has a newly designed vacuum chamber, which includes a total of 15 ports for full analytical flexibility. An unrivaled charge compensation system enables the local application of an inert gas flush. In this way, charge build-up on non-conductive samples, such as shale, is neutralized and detection of secondary electrons (SE) as well as backscattered electrons (BSE) becomes feasible.

Ingrain was formed in 2007 to bring the petrophysical innovations of founders Dr. Amos Nur and Dr. Henrique Tono to the oil and gas industry. The science, the technology and the business concept are based on intellectual property created during 30 years of work in rock physics by Dr. Amos Nur at Stanford University. Ingrain uses advanced 3D imaging technology and patented computational methods to provide fast, accurate measurements of reservoir rock properties including porosity, absolute permeability, electrical conductivity, elastic properties and relative permeability.

In September of 2009 Ingrain secured a third round of funding totaling $15 million to advance the deployment of its digital rock physics labs and to continue its expansion into the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.



Maybe they can use this technology for geothermal energy projects.

Henry Gibson

It would be very very very good for the US economy to use alternates to importing oil. One of these is to install units to extract oil from oil shale and subsidise the price as it does the price of ethanol. The waste rock can be mostly converted to building stone or even roadways when treated with excess CO2. This can even be put back into the mines for support.

It is also known how to make gasoline out of natural gas and coal. There should be a massive funding of the construction of such factories at all coal mines. No oil companies can be allowed to build or invest in these alternate liquid automotive fuel factories.

Much less money than has been invested in Wall Street could make the US oil independant in five years and be repaid to the nation in less time by eliminating money outflow to foreign countries. World wide CO2 release would not be increased substantially by such factories because most of the energy lost in conversion can be used to replace electrical energy already being generated by coal and gas.

Much of the CO2 generated can also be pumped permanently into the ground to enhance oil production from existing and future wells. Pipe technology now can allow the piping of CO2 long distances. CO2 is now transported as a liquid in tankcars, trucks and containers.

New York City could convert its steam heating system to a coal fired cogeneration system that would not release any CO2 or SO2 etc. This can be done at lower fuel costs than now is done with absolutely no smoke. And the CO2 can be piped to oil fields. The SO2 is converted to fertilizer and put on the ground. In spite of acid rain, there are many soils deficient in sulphur. Sulphur is absolutely necessary to plant and animal growth.

This can be the massive jobs project needed to recreate the US economy.

One year of avoiding super high priced foreign oil can pay it all back. The program will also be subsidised by a tax on foreign oil as is the ethanol program by a tax on foreign ethanol. ..HG..

The comments to this entry are closed.