Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
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Franklin M. ("Lynn") Orr, Jr.
Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor in Petroleum Engineering, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch
My students and I work to understand the physical mechanisms that control flow of multiphase, multicomponent fluids in the subsurface, using a combination of experiments and theory. The theory part includes numerical simulation of flow in heterogeneous porous rocks and coalbeds, often using streamline approaches, and it also involves solving by analytical methods the differential equations that describe the interactions of complex phase equilibrium and flow (porous rocks containing more than one flowing phase can sometimes act like a chromatograph, separating components as they flow). The experiments are used to test how well the models describe reality. Applications of this work range from enhanced oil and gas recovery to geologic storage of carbon dioxide (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) to the transport of contaminants in aquifers.
I teach a courses for graduate students on the mathematics of multiphase, multicomponent flow in porous media and on the thermodynamics of phase behavior. I also teach an undergraduate course on energy for freshmen.
Member, National Research Council Committee on Subsurface Characterization, Modeling, Monitoring, and Remediation of Fractured Rocks, 2013-present, Member, Technical Advisory Committee, Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame; Member, Division Committee for the Division of Earth and Life Sciences of the National Research Council, 2012-present; Member, Energy Technology Innovation System Working Group, President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, 2010; Member, California Energy Future study committee (2009-2010); Member, NRC Committee on America's Energy Future (2007-2009); co-chair, Workshop on Basic Research Needs for the Geosciences, U.S. Dept. of Energy (2007); IOR Pioneer, Society of Petroleum Engineers (2006); Honorary Doctorate in Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland (2005); member, Advisory Board, Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton University (2004-present); director, Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford University; member, Faculty Leadership Committee, Stanford Institute for the Environment (2004-05); National Associate of the National Academies (2002); Robert Earl McConnell Award, AIME (2001); election to National Academy of Engineering (2000); member, Board of Directors, David and Lucile Packard Foundation (1999-2008); member, Provost's Committee on the Environment (1995-2004); member, Board of Directors, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (1987-present); Chair, Fellowships for Science and Engineering Advisory Panel, David and Lucile Packard Foundation (1990-present);
UPS Foundation Professor of Civil Engineering in Urban and Regional Planning, Emeritus
BioOrtolano is concerned with environmental and water resources policy and planning. His research stresses environmental policy implementation in developing countries and the role of non-governmental organizations in environmental management. His recent interests center on corporate environmental management.