Modelling effects of dispersion on convection in porous media

This project has been funded as Erwing Schrödinger fellowship (project ID J-4612) by the Austrian Funding Agency (FWF). This three-year fellowship is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Detlef Lohse at the University of Twente (Physics of Fluids Group) and Prof. Alfredo Soldati at TU Wien (Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer).

A major proportion of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the atmosphere is due to anthropogenic activities and represents one of the main causes of the global warming. A possible solution is represented by CO2 sequestration: CO2 is captured from power plants and injected in underground geological formations, where it dissolves into the resident fluid (brine) and can be safely stored for hundreds of years. In this frame, the properties of the rocks play a key role: after injection, CO2 follows sinuous paths among the rock grains and spreads in a complex manner, making predictions on the long-term dynamics hard to obtain. For this reason, the identification of suitable sequestration sites and the design of the injection process is still a challenging task. Moreover, injection of CO2 takes place at depths between 1 and 3 km beneath the earth surface, where accurate in-situ measurements are not possible: Simulations and lab-scale experiments become essential tools. This project, which focuses on the analysis of experiments and simulations of convection in porous media, aims at improving our understanding and design capabilities of CO2 storage processes in geological formations.