Vavra poster earns first place at Microfluidics and Energy Symposium

PhD student awarded a $1,000 grand prize for poster titled 'Utilizing an Alkali-Surfactant-Foam Process to Mobilize Heavy Crude Oil.'

Eric Vavra

Eric Vavra, a sixth-year doctoral student in chemical and biomolecular engineering (ChBE) at Rice, won first place in the poster contest at the first Microfluidics and Energy Symposium, held virtually April 29-30.

Vavra was awarded a $1,000 grand prize for the poster, titled “Utilizing an Alkali-Surfactant-Foam Process to Mobilize Heavy Crude Oil.”

“This study involves a novel enhanced oil recovery process,” Vavra said. “With microfluidic technology, we are able to visualize important mechanisms at the pore scale for mobilizing viscous crude oils at the pore scale and to link their recovery with phase behavior, an important parameter in surfactant-enhanced oil recovery.”

The first annual MES conference was co-organized by Vavra’s adviser, Lisa Biswal, the William M. McCardell Professor in Chemical Engineering and associate department chair. Vavra is also advised by George Hirasaki, the A.J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus of ChBE.

Vavra graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in chemical engineering in 2015.