, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 2289–2301 | Cite as

Investigation of a new application for cellulose nanocrystals: a study of the enhanced oil recovery potential by use of a green additive

  • Silje N. Molnes
  • Aleksandr Mamonov
  • Kristofer G. Paso
  • Skule Strand
  • Kristin Syverud
Original Paper


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were investigated for use in a potential new application, enhanced oil recovery. Core flooding experiments were performed on outcrop sandstone cores using CNC particles dispersed in low salinity brine (CNC–LS). Core flooding experiments performed on fully water-saturated cores confirm that a majority of viscosity-generating CNC particles successfully traverse the cores at temperature conditions ranging from 60 to 120 °C. Oil recovery tests performed on crude oil saturated sandstone cores at 60 and 90 °C show that when CNC–LS is applied in tertiary mode, ultimate oil recovery increases. During tertiary CNC–LS injection, CNC particles exacerbate differential pressure fluctuations, a phenomenon attributable to log jamming in pore throats, causing remobilisation of oil trapped within pore space regions. Results from the current work indicate that CNC particles dispersed in low saline brine remain promising for implementation in enhanced oil recovery operations.


Oil recovery EOR CNC Temperature stability Nanocellulose 



This work was performed as a part of the NORCEL Project: The NORwegian NanoCELlulose Technology Platform, initiated and led by The Paper and Fibre Research Institute (PFI) in Trondheim and funded by the Research Council of Norway through the NANO2021 Program, grant number 228147. The experimental work in this study has been carried out at the University of Stavanger (UoS) in the Smart Water EOR laboratory facilities, which is a part of the Department of Petroleum Technology, and at the Ugelstad Laboratory, which is part of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Petroleum TechnologyUniversity of Stavanger (UoS)StavangerNorway
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  3. 3.RISE PFITrondheimNorway

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