The Center for Midstream Management and Science supports research projects to aid the midstream industry. Research areas include:
  • Petrochemical Supply Chain Optimization and Pipeline Networks
  • Corrosion, Reliability Modeling, Inspection Procedures and Advanced Inspection Technology
  • Demand Modeling and Revenue Management
  • Rail Yards, Marine Terminals, and Product Storage
  • Data Analysis, Sensor Networks, and Internet of Things
  • Midstream Safety and Safety Instrumented Systems
  • Rail, Pipeline, Truck and Maritime Petrochemical Logistics
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Environmental Impacts

The Midstream Center supports students, faculty members, labs, senior design projects, and post-doctoral fellowships across Lamar University with a focus on applied research that is valuable to the midstream industry. The Center supports 5 to 10 projects per year. The Center also assists faculty with externally funded projects from industry and government. To date, faculty associated with the center have received corporate funding and The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine funding to support midstream research.

The following are example midstream projects by Lamar faculty members.

LNG

Title:

Dynamic Modeling and Simulation for LNG Loading, BOG Generation, and BOG Recovery at LNG Exporting Terminals

Investigators: 

Dr. Qiang Xu

Description:

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a prominent clean energy source available in abundance. LNG has high calorific value, while lower price and emissions. Vapors generated from LNG due to heat leak and operating-condition-changes are called boil-off gas (BOG). Because of the very dynamic in nature, the rate of BOG generation during LNG loading (jetty BOG, or JBOG) changes significantly with the loading time, which needs to be well studied. In this project, the LNG vessel loading process is dynamically simulated to obtain JBOG generation profiles. The effects of various parameters including holding-mode heat leak, initial-temperature of LNG ship-tank, JBOG compressor capacity, and maximum cooling-rate for ship-tank, on JBOG profile have been comprehensively studied. Meanwhile, possible JBOG reuse/recovery strategies have also been investigated in this work. Understanding JBOG generation would help in designing and retrofitting BOG recovery facilities in an efficient way. The study would also help proper handling of BOG problems in terms of minimizing flaring at LNG exporting terminals, and thus reducing waste, saving energy, and protecting surrounding environments.

Publications:

Kurle, Y. M., Xu, Q.*, “Dynamic Simulation Study for Boil-off Gas Minimization at Liquefied Natural Gas Exporting Terminals”, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 57 (17), 5903–5913, 2018.

Offshore Safety

Title:

Developing an Integrated Offshore Energy Industry Safety Culture Evaluation, Benchmarking, and Improvement Toolbox

Researchers:

Dr. Brian Craig
Dr. James Curry
ABS
University of Houston

Date:

Spring 2020 - Spring 2021

Funded By:

Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Press Releases:

Lamar Announcement

Gulf Research Program Announcement

Rail Yard Optimization

Title:

A Railyard Management Software

Researchers:

Dr. Maryam Hamidi

Dr. Brian Craig

Dates:

01/2020-12/2020

Description:

LU Partners with Iron Horse Terminals

In support of a LU college of engineering’s critical strategic initiative to increase and enhance industry/university collaborations, LU, led by Dr. Maryam Hamidi, assistant professor in LU’s department of industrial engineering, has partnered with Iron Horse Terminals located in Beaumont, TX. Iron Horse Terminals focuses on streamlining processes to supplement strategic southeast Texas regional growth opportunities. The Iron Horse Terminals facility is located approximately seven miles west of Beaumont, TX with connectivity to two major rail lines, along major trucking corridors and access to one of the largest high density and low-density polyethylene facilities on the Gulf Coast make this site optimal for large-scale polyethylene manufacturers. With more than 21 miles of track on their site and an over 1,200 car storage capacity, Iron Horse Terminals is capable of enhancing the growing logistical needs of the region. Existing on-site infrastructure, as well as future expansion plans, provide opportunities for dynamic optimization.
Located at strategic points, railyards are considered hubs of railroad transportation systems. Railyards consist of complex group of rail tracks branching off main lines, performing many services, such as loading and discharging, storing, inspection and maintenance. Railyards have a complex operation including allocating inbound cars, assembling outbound cars, switching, and tracking cars in the yard. Dealing with a complex operation for a substantial number of cars, railyard companies are motivated to use tools to increase efficiency. Such tools should use several datasets and list of tasks as input and determine and visualize the optimal operations.

“To support the current and future needs of Iron Horse Terminals and the region’s rapid expansion, this project will develop a web-based system for such operation as a user-interface software using programming skills, database design and optimization techniques to increase efficiency. The proposed software has the capability of serving multiple types of users with different levels of access and applications, which will store and aggregate all data including inbound and outbound RFID readers and optimally assign railcars to track spots. This software will further visualize and generate outbound car map/list for dispatchers and yard workers,” said Hamidi.

Dr. Brian Craig, dean of LU’s college of engineering added, “this project represents an example of the amazing capabilities of our faculty to enhance LU’s impact on the southeast Texas region and our nation’s economy, supporting the goals of the college of engineering, https://www.lamar.edu/engineering/index.html and the Center for Midstream Management and Science, https://www.lamar.edu/engineering/midstreamcenter/index.html. We are thrilled to have signed this partnership with Iron Horse Terminals.”

Funding:

Corporate Sponsor

H2S Removal

Title:

H2S Removal from Oil and Gas Streams

Researchers:

Dr. Tracy Benson

Description:

The aim of this research is to develop and test a series of absorbents (known as scavengers) for the removal of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from crude liquid oils.  Crude oils that have sulfur concentrations more than 0.5 wt% are considered sour crudes, since they are characterized by a foul, odorous smell. Sour crudes are of lower quality and present serious health and environmental concerns. Therefore, sustainable measures to lower the sulfur content (i.e. crude oil sweetening) are of significant importance, financially and environmentally.  Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), however, is normally removed using amine based absorbing materials, known as scavengers. Removing of H2S at the wellhead before transporting via pipeline or railcar increases the value of crude oil and in some cases is necessary to conform to legal transport laws. Phase 1 of this work explored the solubility and liquid phase activity coefficients for triazine-type scavengers. Phase 2 explores replacing trianzine compounds with ionic liquids. Triazine have a tendency to produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the regeneration phase in the absorption/stripping process. Ionic liquids have relatively no boiling point, making them more environmentally attractive as an absorbent. Laboratory-based experiments will yield solubility parameters needed for equipment design and sizing.

Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Storage

Title:

Carbon Dioxide Transportation and Storage project (GoMCarb)

Researchers:

University of Texas

Dr. Tracy Benson

Description:

This is a collaboration with UT-Austin (lead institute). Through a $16.5 million grant from the Department of Entergy, the project - Offshore Gulf of Mexico Partnership for Carbon Storage - Resources and Technology Development (GoMCarb) – brings the two universities together with other carbon capture storage (CCS) stakeholders in government, academic and industry.

Lamar University areas are:

  1. Estimating CO2 leakage rates and dispersion from an injection site
  2. Optimizing CO2 gathering and compressing from industrial facilities for delivery to injection sites
  3. Raising public awareness of potential subsea geologic CO2 storage

Read the press release about this project.