Luis F. Ayala is the William A. Fustos Family Professor in Energy and Mineral Engineering in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State. His research activities focus on the areas of advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling applied to multiphase flow of natural gas in porous media, multiphase well performance, natural gas engineering, and multicomponent thermodynamics. Ayala holds two engineering degrees (both with summa cum laude honors), one in chemical engineering and another in petroleum engineering from Universidad de Oriente (Venezuela), and M.S. and Ph.D degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State. He is a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of the Fulbright-Colciencias Innovation and Technology Award, and has received awards for Outstanding Teaching, Outstanding Faculty Advisor, and Outstanding Faculty Mentoring.
In 2021, he became the inaugural recipient of the Charles Hosler Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and received the Penn State Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentor Award in 2022. Ayala served as associate department head for Graduate Education in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering from 2013 to 2019, and served as executive editor for the premier scholarly journal in his professional society (SPE Journal, of the Society of Petroleum Engineers) until 2022. He has received several Outstanding Technical Editor Awards and the Eastern Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award. In 2022-2023, he was selected as an Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Senior Vice-President for Research at Penn State. He was elected a Distinguished Member by his professional society in 2022.
Ayala’s research group conducts research in the area of natural gas engineering with emphasis on numerical modeling of unconventional natural gas plays, long-term production performance analysis of tight and shale gas reservoirs, rate-time decline analysis of natural gas reservoirs, and hydrocarbon thermodynamics and its interplay with reservoir flow systems. Dr. Ayala is actively involved in the study of performance non-conventional natural gas reservoir sources, particularly in hydrocarbon production from gas shales and retrograde, liquid-rich gas-condensates in ultra-tight reservoir environments. Dr. Ayala’s current research projects explore the underlying physical factors that control multiphase transport and flow dynamics in these complex natural gas reservoir systems. Some specific projects explore the influence of thermodynamic properties, and interfacial, surface and capillary effects on multiphase fluid flow in these ultra-tight unconventional reservoir environments. Ayala’s research group seeks an improved quantitative understanding of multiphase fluid flow in nano-pore reservoirs that can lead to a significantly improved predictive capability of large-scale numerical simulators—which are the foundation of reservoir modeling and production forecasting.
(Last 5 years)
- Soomro, M., Ayala, L.F., Peng, C., and Ayala, O.M., Fugacity-based lattice Boltzmann method for multicomponent multiphase systems, Phys. Rev. E, 107, 015304, 2023.
- Tran, K., Garcez, J., and Ayala, L.F.,A robust density-based approach to production data analysis of oil/water multiphase flow systems, J. Energy Resour. Technol. 2023, 145(11): 112902.
- Zhang, F., Zou, L., Rui, Z., Emami-Meybodi, H., Ayala, L.F., Zhang, Z., A two-phase type-curve method with multiscale fluid transport mechanisms in hydraulically fractured shale reservoirs, Petroleum Sci., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petsci.2023.02.004, 2023.
- Garcez, J. Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F.,Modeling of anomalous gas transport in heterogeneous unconventional reservoirs using a nonlinear generalized diffusivity equation, Fuel, v. 340, 127519, 2023.
- Garcez, J. Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F.,Unified early-to-late time forecasting method for multi-fractured horizontal wells in unconventional gas reservoirs with fracture interference effects, J. of Gas Sci and Eng., v.110, 2023.
- Zhang, M., Garcez, J. and Ayala, L.F.,A Similarity-based Solution for Nonlinear Gas Fractional Diffusivity Equation with Application to Rate Transient Analysis of Unconventional Heterogenous Reservoirs, SPE J, Dec. 2022.
- Wang, Z., Soomro, M., Peng, C., Ayala, O.M., and Ayala, L.F. Two pressure boundary conditions for multi-component multiphase flow simulations using the pseudo-potential lattice Boltzmann model, Computers and Fluids, v. 248, 15, 105672, 2022.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., The Dual-Reciprocity Boundary Element Analysis for Hydraulically Fractured Shale Gas Reservoirs, Transport Porous Media, v. 142, 531-557, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11242-022-01757-9, 2022.
- Garcez, J. and Ayala, L.F., Green’s function-based type curves for multi-fractured horizontal gas wells in unconventional reservoirs, Fuel, v. 320, 123713, July 2022.
- Peng, C, Ayala, L.F., and Ayala, O.M. Fluid-wall interactions in pseudopotential lattice Boltzmann models, Phys. Review E 104, 03301, Sept. 2021.
- Lou, X., Chakraborty, N., Karpyn, Z., Ayala, L.F., Nagarajan, N., and Wijaya, Z.: Experimental Study of Gas-Liquid Diffusion in Porous Rocks and Bulk Fluids to Investigate the Effect of Rock Matrix Hindrance, SPE J, 26 (03): 1174-1188, June 2021.
- Peng, C, Ayala, L.F., and Ayala, O.M. A thermodynamically consistent pseudo-potential lattice Boltzmann model for multi-component, multiphase, partially miscible mixtures, J. Computational Physics, v. 429, 110018, March 2021.
- Zhang, M., Chakraborty, N., Karpyn, Z., Emami, H., and Ayala, L.F.: Experimental and Numerical Study of Gas Diffusion and Sorption Kinetics in Ultratight Rocks, Fuel, v. 286, no. 2, Feb. 2021.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., The Dual-Reciprocity Boundary Element Method Solution for Gas Recovery from Unconventional Reservoirs with Discrete Fracture Networks, SPE Journal v. 25, 2898-2914, Dec. 2020.
- Garcez, J. Zhang, M., & Ayala, L.. A robust semi-analytical method based on integral formulations for modeling unconventional gas wells with variable production constraints. J. Nat Gas Sci and Eng, v. 83, 103522, Nov. 2020.
- Sun, Q., and Ayala, L.F., Use of a new Thermodynamic-based Saturation-Pressure Relationship in Two-Phase Rate Transient Analysis of Boundary Dominated Gas Condensate Reservoirs, SPE Journal v. 25, 1636-1656, Aug. 2020.
- Chen, Z., Kleit, A., Lei, Z., An, H., Ayala, L.F., and Pruvot, A., The Linear-Analog Method: A More Efficient and Effective Linearization Method for Natural Gas Transportation Optimization, Journal of Natural Gas Science & Engineering, v. 80, 103305, August 2020.
- Peng, C., Ayala, L. F. Wang, Z., and Ayala, O.M. Attainment of rigorous thermodynamic consistency and surface tension in single-component pseudo-potential lattice Boltzmann models via a customized equation of state, Physical Review E 101, 063309, June 2020.
- Nguyen, K., Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., Transient Pressure Behavior for Unconventional Gas Wells with Finite-conductivity Fractures, Fuels, v. 266, no. 15, p. 117119, April 2020.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., A similarity-based semi-analytical solution for recovery performance of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs with IFT-dependent capillary pressure effects, J. Energy Res. & Tech., v.142(4), April 2020.
- Wang, Y. and Ayala, L.F., Explicit Determination of Reserves for Variable-Bottomhole-Pressure Conditions in Gas Rate-Transient Analysis, SPE Paper 195691, SPE Journal 25(01), p. 369-390. Feb. 2020.
- Zhang, M.,and Ayala, L.F., Application of Superposition Principle to Variable Rate/Pressure Analysis of Multi-Fractured Horizontal Wells in Unconventional Gas Reservoirs, J. Nat. Gas Sc. & Eng., v.72, p. 103011, Dec. 2019.
- Peng, C. Ayala, L.F., Ayala, O., Wang, L., Isotropy and Spurious Currents in Pseudo-potential Multiphase Lattice Boltzmann Models, Computers and Fluids, v. 191(15), 10.1016/j.compfluid.2019.104257, Sept. 2019.
- Sun, Q., and Ayala, L.F., Analysis of Multiphase Reservoir Production from Oil/Water Systems Using Rescaled Exponential Decline Models, J. Energy Res. & Tech., 141(8):082903, Aug. 2019.
- Will, R., Sun, Q., and Ayala, L.F., A Compositional Rescaled-Exponential Model for Multiphase Production Analysis of Boundary-Dominated Gas Condensate Reservoirs, SPE J., 24(02), p. 618-646, 2019.
- Wang, Y., Cheng, S., Zhang, K., and Ayala, L.F., Investigation on the Transient Pressure Response of Water Injector Coupling the Dynamic Flow Behaviors in the Wellbore, Waterflood-Induced Fracture and Reservoir: Semi-Analytical Modeling and A Field Case, Int. J. Heat & Mass Tran., v. 130, p. 668-679, March 2019.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., Variable Rate and Pressure Integral Solutions to the Nonlinear Gas Diffusivity Equation in Unconventional Systems, Fuels, v. 235, p. 1100-1113, Jan. 2019.
- Zhang, Z. and Ayala, L.F., Analytical Dual-Porosity Gas Model for Reserve Evaluation of Naturally Fractured Gas Reservoirs Using a Density-Based Approach, J. Nat. Gas Sc. & Eng., v. 59, p. 224-236, Nov. 2018.
- Li, X., Ventura, J., and Ayala, L. F., Carbon Dioxide Source Selection and Supply Planning for Fracking Operations in Shale Gas and Oil Wells, J. Nat. Gas Sc. & Eng., v. 55, p. 74-88, July 2018.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., A General Boundary Integral Solution for Fluid Flow Analysis in Reservoirs with Complex Fracture Geometries, J. Energy Res. & Tech. 140(5), 052907, Jan. 2018.
- Zhang, M., and Ayala, L.F., A Semi-Analytical Solution to Compositional Flow in Liquid-Rich Gas Plays, Fuels, v. 212, p. 274-292, Jan. 2018.
- E. Williard & Ruby S. Miller Faculty Fellowship, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2023)
- Administrative Fellow, Office of the Senior Vice President for Research (Dr. Lora Weiss), The Pennsylvania State University, 2022-2023.
- Distinguished Member Award, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2022
- Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentor Award, The Pennsylvania State U. (2022)
- Charles Hosler Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2021)
- Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2021)
- “A Peer Apart” Honoree, Society of Petroleum Engineers (2020)
- Eastern Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award Recipient, Society of Petroleum Engineers (2020)
- Penn State’s Outstanding Faculty Advising Award, College of Earth on Mineral Sciences (2018)
- Fulbright Scholar, Fulbright -Colciencias Innovation and Technology Award (2016-2017)
- Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Outstanding Technical Editor Award (2007, 2017, and 2018)
- William A. Fustos Family Professorship in Energy and Mineral Engineering (2016-present)
- Energi Simulation research co-Chair in Fluid Behavior and Rock Interactions (2014-present)
- Penn State’s Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching, College of Earth on Mineral Sciences (2008)
- Presidential distinction for Academic Excellence "José Félix Ribas" awarded by the President of the Republic of Venezuela
- Summa cum laude distinctions in chemical engineering and petroleum engineering and Merit Medal "21st of November" granted by the Board of Trustees of Universidad de Oriente, outstanding academic achievement.