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Student Research Spotlight: Ibukun Ojo

Nigerian PhD student Ibukun Ojo is breaking new ground in energy research. From petroleum to geothermal studies, his story embodies a dedication to sustainability and innovation.

Exploring Alternative Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Recovery

Ibukun Ojo is a first-year PhD student from Nigeria in the Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering at the University of North Dakota, determined to explore alternative fluids for enhanced geothermal recovery in the state of North Dakota.

Holding a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Ibadan, Ibukun tasks himself with the mission of geothermal energy and reducing global energy poverty.

Ibukun Ojo

Despite his background in petroleum engineering, Ibukun recognized the importance of diversifying the energy mix. The renewable and abundant nature of geothermal energy captivated him into exploring alternative fluids for enhanced geothermal recovery.

Working with the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s renewable energy program, Ibukun’s work offers a promising outlook for unlocking the potential of North Dakota’s geothermal industry.

Ibukun’s research aims to evaluate the feasibility of different fluids for enhanced geothermal recovery, particularly in the home state of North Dakota. By harnessing the knowledge and understanding of the dynamic properties of thermal-treated rock and modelling pressure and temperature profiles, Ibukun can optimize geothermal performance for the growing industry.

So, why did Ibukun choose to research this?

Ibukun notes, “While I believe in the longevity of hydrocarbons, I’m exploring geothermal energy due to its promising advancements and projected role in the renewable energy landscape. As a petroleum engineer, my skills align well with tapping into underground heat reservoirs.”

This shift in focus could have significant benefits for North Dakota, particularly considering the potential of its basins to serve as sources of geothermal energy.

Combining experimental and mathematical modelling approaches, Ibukun’s methodology involves laboratory experiments to investigate fluid behaviours under extreme temperature and pressure conditions. His research advances scientific understanding and offers practical insights for designing efficient and effective geothermal systems.

Despite the challenges, such as limited field data availability and specialized simulation tools, Ibukun’s work has thus far yielded significant achievements. Ibukun has developed an improved mathematical model for predicting pressure profiles in geothermal wells, addressing a crucial gap in existing literature.

Looking ahead to the state’s future, Ibukun aims to extend his model to different types of geothermal wells and identify alternative fluids with higher energy-carrying capacity. His research aligns with UND’s commitment to sustainability and innovation in energy engineering.

Written by John Nguyen  //  UND College of Engineering & Mines