Mathematical (analytic and numerical) modeling of earth systems with emphasis on multiphase fluid flow physics and rock mechanics; smart, process-based control of very large waterfloods in unconventional, low-permeability formations; productivity and mechanics of hydrocarbon-bearing shales.
Patzek has co-designed and evaluated 7 field pilots of various oil recovery processes from waterflood, to steam and steam foam injection. More recently, Patzek got involved in human-machine interactions and safety culture in the offshore environment.
In a broader context, Patzek works on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity. He has participated in the global debate on energy supply schemes by giving hundreds of press interviews and appearing on the BBC, PBS, CBS, CNBC, ABC, NPR, etc., and giving invited lectures around the world.
Dr. Patzek leads the Energy Geosystems research group.