Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Our research group is focused on developing innovative experimental approaches and simulation tools to understand and predict the structure, phase behavior and thermodynamic and transport properties of complex fluids, at high temperatures and pressures.
A major component of our current research program is dedicated to finding solutions to major flow assurance problems in the oil industry, such as asphaltene deposition. These complex problems require an interdisciplinary approach to look into the molecular structure, micro and macroscopic morphology, optical, thermodynamic and transport properties complemented with advanced thermodynamic and computational fluid dynamics models.
We are also interested in developing integrated approaches for an efficient and sustainable enhancement of the production of conventional and unconventional energy resources.
Francisco “Paco” Vargas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Dr. Vargas returned to Rice after spending more than three years in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, where he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Petroleum Institute and, at the same time, the Manager for the Flow Assurance R&D Program of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Prior to joining the Petroleum Institute, he was an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Monterrey Tech, in Mexico. He has also been an active member of the Research Chair in Solar Energy and Thermal-Fluid Sciences at the same institution. Dr. Vargas has also worked for the Flow Assurance Team of Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston, Texas and for Deepstar, a joint industry technology development project supported by a number of oil companies. Dr. Vargas has been the recipient and co-recipient of several teaching and research awards in Mexico, US and UAE, and he is currently a member of the National Researchers System of the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) in Mexico. Dr. Vargas holds a Ph.D. degree from Rice University, and M.S. and B.S. from Monterrey Tech, in Mexico.