Methods & Labs Computer Simulation


Computer Simulation – Numerical modeling

Simulations at the pore, lab, and field scales constitute part of our research work. Typically, they involve subsurface multiphase fluid flow, heat transfer, reactive transport, and geomechanics, with applications in such fields as geothermal energy, subsurface carbon dioxide storage, groundwater, oil/gas. Pore-scale simulations improve our understanding of fundamental processes. Lab-scale simulations accompany our laboratory experiments. Simulations at the field scale help address concrete application-based questions.

We use various well-known simulators, including TOUGH2, TOUGHREACT, PetraSim, PFLOTRAN, DuMux, and GEOS. For very computationally intensive simulations, we have access to ETH’s Euler and the University of Minnesota’s high-performance computing systems.

The group is also working on the development of new codes. Reaktoro, our in-house geochemistry model, developed by Dr. Allan Leal, provides methods for chemical equilibrium and kinetic calculations for multiphase systems.

Project: Modeling tracer transport through rough fractures using the MOOSE simulation environment

(MOOSE) Modelling of tracer transport through rough fracture(s) by using the MOOSE PorousFlow module and our inhouse MOOSE application SaintBernard. The fractures are represented by two-dimensional planes in a three-dimensional model domain and the spatially correlated aperture values are considered in the porosity and permeability parameters. Fast and flexible development of new models is achieved by combining our MOOSE in-house tool with the versatile MOOSE PorousFlow module. Similar simulations to this one are performed for CO2 injection into brine filled fractures.

Project: Embedded Fractures – Utopia

(Utopia) Our collaboration with USI-Lugano allowed the development of a modeling approach for single-phase flow (see p – pressure in Figure 3) in 3D fractured porous media with non-conforming meshes (see Figure 4). A Lagrange multiplier method (depicts the variable coupling between fracture and matrix domain) is combined with a L2-projection variational transfer approach (general, accurate, and parallel projection of variables between non-conforming meshes).

Project: Reaktoro

Project: Pore-Network Modeling

Quasi-static (Drainage and Imbibition) simulations of two-phase (scCO2-Brine) in a natural rock sample (Nubian Sandstone, Egypt) to incorporate the effects of CO2 trapping.

Project: Assessment and optimization of carbon storage and combined EGR-CPG development from high-temperature natural gas reservoirs

An example of a numerical simulation study, carried out with TOUGH2 and the PetraSim GUI, showing the distribution of total gas saturation after injection of CO2 in an almost depleted natural gas reservoir for enhanced gas recovery and
geothermal energy recovery. Note that the gas is trapped by the anticlinal structure of the reservoir.