Skip to main content

EPS Seminar: Dr. Wen Song "Micro/nanoscale reactive transport toward decarbonization".

Sponsored by

This event is over.

Event Details:

At-scale energy decarbonization will require extraordinary volumes of mineral resources. Demand for rare earth elements (REEs) – materials critical to the function of magnets and catalysts used in wind turbines and low-carbon vehicles – is forecasted to grow 5-fold by 2035 and outpace supply.  In this talk, I will discuss opportunities to supplement the REEs supply using industrial wastes such as coal ash wastes.  Specifically, micro/nanoscale morphology and crystallography of the silicate-based particulates are characterized to provide insight on the coupled fluid-mineral reactions and transport that enable REEs extraction.  We reveal surprising insights, including reaction-limited solid-state leaching of nonporous matrices, and the role of crystallinity on REEs extraction.  The micro/nanovisual insights here, coupled with analytical geochemistry and fluid mechanics, provide a path toward securing the supply of minerals critical to decarbonization.


A collage of different images of different types of energy

Description automatically generated


Wen is a George H. Fancher Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.  Her research aims to understand the interfacial reactions and coupled transport mechanisms that control energy and environmental processes in geologic porous media.  Specifically, she develops novel micro/nanovisualization platforms that enable the in situ observation of fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interactions with ~ nm, ~ real-time, and chemical species resolution and combines experimental observations with analytical geochemistry and fluid mechanics to elucidate fundamental interfacial geochemical processes.  She received her Ph.D. in energy resources engineering from Stanford University prior to joining UT Austin.  She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER, ACS PRF, and EAGE Arie van Weelden awards, and is a Scialog fellow in Negative Emissions Science and in Sustainable Minerals, Metals and Materials.  

For the Zoom information, please get in touch with Jannis Simões-Seymens (


1 person is interested in this event