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Jonathan Ellis

Research area:

Carbon management, Computational sustainability

Degree: Postdoctoral Researcher

Department: Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Supervisor: Professor Aimy Bazylak


Towards a Comprehensive Pore-Network Model Description of Carbon Dioxide Transport in Brine-filled Porous Geological Formations Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been proposed as a short- to medium-term solution towards the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere. Underground sequestration of carbon in geological formations is one possible method for realizing this, and involves injection of CO2 into high-permeability porous reservoirs at supercritical conditions. Once injected, the CO2 displaces the occupying reservoir fluid (oil, gas, or brine) as it migrates upwards, where its upwards migration is arrested by a low-permeability sealing caprock formation. Saline aquifers (deep-underground brine-filled geological reservoirs) are being considered as ideal sites due to their large volume capacity and relative global abundance, compared to other options. However, estimation of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be captured in a given reservoir, and its long-term storage stability, remain a challenge. As well, prediction of injection site viability is presently costly and time-consuming. To facilitate this process, we are using a Pore Network Modelling technique to simulate the flow of supercritical CO2 and brine solutions in porous geological reservoirs. Pore Network Modelling simplifies the micro-transport of multi-phase flows in porous media, allowing the simulation of larger systems while still capturing the essential flow characteristics. Our aim is to study the effects of pore heterogeneity, wettability, and geochemical reactivity on CO2 storage in geological formations. The eventual goal of the modelling efforts is to analyze CO2 transport properties and geochemical reaction rates measured concurrently using microfluidic reservoir-on-a-chip technologies. This will allow for rapid prediction of the effects of geological pore and mineral structure on the long-term fate of injected CO2, and provide benchmarking of transport properties to researchers and industrial partners in Canada and internationally.

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