Why is this research needed?
Two scoping studies aim to investigate a fit-for-purpose numerical simulator for offshore UK CO2 stores. Efficient use, and handover, of CO2 storage sites relies on conformance to modelled predictions. The models are not accurate across 1010 size scales required. Using the correct physics, this research aims to begin a design process to make better software predicting CO2 saturation and spread.
CO2 modelling software (e.g. ECLIPSE, TOUGH) is derived from hydrocarbon and radwaste applications, where induced pressure gradients from the injecting or producing wellbores dominate the flow field, and where flow is dominated by modal permeability, not for CO2 top decile permeability. These models are not correct for modelling CO2-brine flow, pressure, pore accumulation, and lateral migration on the much larger 10-100 km scales characteristic of North Sea reservoirs where buoyancy-driven flow dominates.
 Huppert H. E., Neufeld, J. A.. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 2014, 46, 255–272.
What is this research investigating?
This project plans to simulate 1 Gt CO2 storage from inception through optimised injection and pressure management, to policing and managing of CO2 dispersion, dissolution, and eventual handover and abandonment.
A simplified numerical framework will be adopted which maximises attention on horizontal resolution by analytically parameterising the vertical structure of the CO2 plume. Upscaling of processes and buoyant migration through permeability and capillarity heterogeneities, will be incorporated from the research projects B1 and B2. A computationally efficient architecture will be designed to scale-up Big Data available from micro-scale imaging into a digital rock model, and then convert to size scales incorporating seismic attributes and uncertainty.
What does the research hope to achieve
It is intended that results will feed into an application to RCUK, to develop advanced CO2-specified software.