Clarkson University Civil & Environmental Engineering Prof. Poojitha Yapa recently delivered a keynote address on "Deepwater Oil Spills: Processes, Behavior, and Modeling" at the Challenges in Environmental Science & Engineering (CESE) conference in Cairns, Australia.
More than 200 delegates from around the world attended the conference.
During his address, Yapa noted that the demand for oil and gas from deepwater is predicted to increase at least for the next 20 years. He said that since some countries are actively pursuing deepwater exploration and production, they need to be ready in case of an accidental release, noting that most deepwater releases consist of both oil and gas.
"It is important to consider gas because it dissolves in water and affects the water quality, and also affect how oil gets transported," said Yapa.
He also spoke about the processes oil and gas undergo when released in deepwater. For example, gases in deepwater can become converted into a substance called hydrates, which are like frazil ice or ice crystals that resemble slush.
Yapa told his audience how to mathematically describe these processes and then code them into a computer, building a model that predicts where oil and gas go in a spill and what happens to them.
Yapa and his students have already developed models for this purpose (CDOG and MEGADEEP), which can show not only where and when oil will come to the water surface, but also why some oil may never come to the surface.
Cairns is a city in Far North Queensland, the northernmost part of the Australian state of Queensland, very close to Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforest.
Read more about Yapa's research at http:// www.clarkson.edu/~pdy .