Oil recovery nanotech earns Aldakkan accolades

two students in a laboratory

Advances in oil recovery technology are helping to address the technical, economic and environmental challenges that come with meeting the world’s energy demands, which is why one Cornell doctoral student’s research has been earning accolades from across the industry.

Bashayer Aldakkan, a materials science and engineering doctoral student developing nanotechnology for oil recovery applications, has been announced as the 2021 Young Technical Professional of the Year by the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), hosted Nov. 15-18. The award comes on the heels of Aldakkan’s research contributions being shortlisted for several other honors, including the IChemE 2020 Global Awards, the 2020 World Oil Awards, and the EGYPS 2021 Global Equality in Energy Awards.

“I am beyond thrilled and honored to be the recipient of the ADIPEC award and to be recognized by a jury of global energy leaders,” Aldakkan said. “This recognition has a special impact on my research journey, as it demonstrates our ability as young researchers and engineers to implement our lab-scale developments into high-impact solutions that address an industrial challenge, which motivates me to set even more ambitious milestones.”

Aldakkan thanked her advisors and mentors at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, including professors Emmanuel Giannelis and Lara Estroff. She also thanked her sponsor, Aramco, where she worked as a research engineer at the company’s upstream research and development center for three years before coming to Cornell. At Aramco, Aldakkan co-invented a stimulation technology that enhanced pumping efficiency of acid treatments and was deployed successfully in several carbonate reservoirs.

“Bashayer is exceptional,” said her adviser Emmanuel Giannelis, who is also Cornell’s vice president for research and innovation. “It’s not very common a student who finishes their master’s thesis will have work that is publishable, but with Bashayer, she was able to publish a paper even before she graduated.”

That paper detailed Aldakkan’s development of a stimuli-responsive, multifunctional nanoparticle design that is capable of releasing surfactants, acid and foam in-situ. The platform is potentially an all-in-one solution for oil recovery and oil-spill remediation.

Aldakkan’s doctoral studies are now focused on understanding the interfacial phenomenon of nanoparticles in oil-water mixtures.

“During this journey I’ve had the opportunity to mentor and coach others,” Aldakkan said. “I find it very rewarding to be ablet to disseminate this knowledge to other individuals and get them excited to be in the energy industry.”

Learn more about Aldakkan’s research from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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