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A new paradigm in modelling flow and transport in porous media: revisiting foundations of porous media science

Objective

Our models of fluid-filled porous media are based on ad-hoc extensions of relatively simple equations. But, in almost all cases, they have failed to provide acceptable descriptions of complex porous media. In petroleum engineering, we are not able to predict the true reservoir behaviour; our predictions must be continuously revised through “history matching”. In soil physics, we find that persistent pesticides do reach deep groundwater resources contrary to our model predictions. Almost all models fail to predict the outcome of soil and groundwater remediation operations. Predictions of performance of industrial systems such as fuel cells and fluid absorbents are poor at the best. We are confronted with major challenges related to the prediction of performance and safety of subsurface CO2 sequestration, and questions related to threats and opportunities associated with methane gas hydrates under the oceans. One major shortcoming of our porous media models is the lack of consideration for the fact that fluids can fill up the pores in many different configurations, even for the same degree of fluid saturations. Each configuration results in different rates of fluids flow and in different mass and heat transport behaviours. Another major defect is the fact that our current models apply to continuous phases. But, in many applications, we have discontinuous fluid phases. The general aim of the proposed research is to establish a new paradigm for modelling flow and transport in porous media. We shall perform integrated experimental and computational research in order to establish advanced physically-based theories for description of porous media processes. We shall construct a host of micromodels for physical experiments on flow and transport and perform sandbox experiments on multiphase flow to study processes that occur in gas hydrates and fuel cells. In the course of this project, a first-class integrated experimental/computational laboratory will be established.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fuel cell
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT
Address
Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 237 200
Principal investigator
Seyed Majid Hassanizadeh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Mirjam Van Kan-Parker (Dr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 237 200
Address
Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Seyed Majid Hassanizadeh (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Mirjam Van Kan-Parker (Dr.)