Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD student Anne Menefee was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) to receive an Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Fellowship to support her research on mitigating human-driven climate change through engineered carbon management. Anne is advised by Assistant Professor Brian Ellis.
The DOE-SCGSR is a highly competitive graduate fellowship that provides supplemental funding for Menefee to complete work at a DOE lab in collaboration with DOE scientists. She will work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) starting in January 2019 where she will collaborate with Dr. Bill Carey on a project titled “Reaction-driven changes in fracture permeability and geomechanical stability.”
During this fellowship, she will examine how mineral reactivity at critical contact points along fractures impacts permeability and fluid transport. Menefee is especially interested in systems where dissolution of fracture contact points may be coupled with volume-expanding precipitation reactions and looking at how those competing mechanisms impact overall fracture permeability. She states that this might have implications for CO2 storage but is also relevant to other subsurface energy technologies like enhanced oil recovery and geothermal energy production.
Menefee’s research work focuses on engineered strategies to mitigate climate change from human-driven emissions. She is looking at the potential to permanently store CO2 in basalt through carbon mineralization. This converts CO2 into a solid phase within the rock formation so no CO2 can leak back out. Menefee runs high-temperature, high-pressure core flooding experiments in her lab work to simulate CO2 injection under representative subsurface conditions.