Researcher Profile

Matthew Balhoff

Matthew Balhoff

I received both my B.Sc. (2000) and Ph.D. (2005) in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University in my home town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My Ph.D. work, completed under the supervision of Dr. Karsten Thompson, was titled “Modeling the Flow of non-Newtonian Fluids in Packed Beds at the Pore Scale” and had applications to hydraulic fracturing. Near the end of my Ph.D. studies, I was fortunate to meet Dr. Mary Wheeler at a Gordon Conference on Flow through Porous Media. Dr. Wheeler gave me the opportunity of my life to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Computational and Engineering Science (ICES) at the University of Texas at Austin. As a postdoc I worked on upscaling methods for directly coupling pore-scale models to reservoir simulators.

In 2007, I joined the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE) as an Assistant Professor, now Professor, in the Hildebrand Department and I hold the Bank of America Professorship in Petroleum Engineering. I have taught many classes in PGE on the subjects of reservoir engineering, fluid and rock properties, numerical reservoir simulation, and numerical methods. I enjoy interacting with students, especially during one-on-one instruction. I have been fortunate to be recognized for my teaching with the PGE Teaching Award (2009), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Gulf Coast Southwest Outstanding Young Faculty Award (2011), SPE International Innovative Faculty Teaching Award (2012), and Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for an Assistant Professor (2013). I thank my students, teaching assistants, and mentorship from colleagues for making these awards possible.

My research is aimed towards enhanced oil recovery, carbon storage, unconventional resource production, and fundamental processes of flow and transport through porous media. Although my early work used mainly modeling tools, my reserach team and I now enjoy complementing modeling with experiments. I use pore-scale (network, CFD, and Lattice Boltmann) and macro-scale (reservoir simulation) models. I perform experiments in microfluidic chips, rheometers, and core floods. Along with Dr. Kishore Mohanty, I co-lead the Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery Industrial Affiliates Project. I have published over 100 peer-reviewed and conference publications, and have been recognized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for the International Young Member Outstanding Service Award (2014), the Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award (2017), and the International Distinguished Member Award (2017). These accomplishments were possible due to the hard work of all the students I have supervised or co-supervised, including 19 Ph.D. students, 21 M.S. students, 8 Postdoctoral Fellows, and dozens of undergraduates, along with collaboration from my brilliant colleagues.

In 2020, I became Director of the Center for Subsurface Energy and the Environment (CSEE) at UT-Austin. As Director my goals are to: re-brand and transform CSEE into an interdisciplinary center with global outreach, to faciliate sustainable research funding especially for junior faculty and new projects, and to improve the visibility and career development of our postdocs and research staff.