Marcelo Benitez, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

My research focus centers on advancing CO2 capture via cryogenic methods, utilizing the carbon capture pilot plant at KAUST. The aim is to enhance this system for deployment in industrial settings, enabling the collection, processing, and capture of flue gas, primarily CO2. Complementing this, I delve into CO2 utilization for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and Carbon Capture Storage in subsurface environments. My work explores coupled processes occurring within reservoirs under in-situ conditions. To achieve this, I wield extensive expertise in conducting experiments under high-pressure and high-temperature conditions. Ultimately, my goal is to offer physics-based solutions to the energy sector, fostering the transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. 

Selected Publications

  • Organo-Bentonite Coated Interfaces: Interfacial Properties and Cyclic Response.
    Benitez, M., Liu, Q., Santamarina, J. (2023),
    Energy Fuels. 37, 13, 9394–9401

  • Pore-scale Phenomena in Carbon Geological Storage (Saline Aquifers - Mineralization - Depleted Oil Reservoirs).
    Liu, Q., Benitez, M., Xia, Z., Santamarina, J. (2022),
    Frontiers in Energy Research. Volume 10 - 2022


  • 2023 - Ph.D. in Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering at KAUST (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

  • 2015 - Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering, specialization in Drilling and Production at TU Clausthal (Germany)

  • 2008 - Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering at UTE (Ecuador)

Professional Profile

  • 2023 - present: Postdoctoral fellow, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.

  • 2016 – 2018: Full-time Lecturer at Central University of Ecuador.

  • 2010 – 2013: Operations Engineer at Nabors Drilling International, Quito - Ecuador.

  • 2009 – 2010: Field supervisor in Constructora Villacrés Andrade (Services Company), Quito - Ecuador.

  • 2007 – 2009: Different positions in SGS in the segment of Oil, Gas, and Chemicals, Quito - Ecuador 

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • Society of Petroleum Engineers – SPE

  • American Rock Mechanics Association - ARMA 


  • 2022 - Dean's Award. Physical Science and Engineering KAUST.

  • 2018 - KAUST Graduate Fellowship. Full Ph.D. scholarship.

  • 2012 - Full scholarship from the Government of Ecuador "Becas Convocatoria Abierta" sponsoring the master's degree in Germany.

  • 2004 - Full scholarship from the Equinoctial University of Technology UTE to complete undergraduate studies. 

KAUST Affiliations

  • Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC)

  • Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE)

Research Interests Keywords

cryogenic CO2 capture Physics-based Energy Solutions Interfacial Phenomena