MS11 Micro-scale and field-scale modeling of underground storage of wastes and hydrocarbons

undefinedM. Ferronato 1, undefinedG. Sciarra2
1University of Padova, Italy, 2University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy


Starting from the ‘50s, underground storage of nuclear wastes, hydrocarbons, as well as CO2 sequestration, are becoming more and more widespread  techniques  for managing the  growing energy demand in industrialized countries and mitigating the related environmental impact. Currently, these techniques are strategic, on one hand to improve the efficiency of the consumption of mineral and energy resources toward a sustainable use of fossil fuels, on the other to ensure the disposal of high activity radioactive wastes to be as safe as possible. The role of underground repositories of gas is of main relevance for industrial countries in order to obtain significant economic savings, supplying these resources during spring-summer time and withdrawing the unavailable volumes during fall-winter. Conversely, underground storage of hazardous wastes is fundamental for environmental rather than economic issues. Finally, storage of carbon dioxide is a useful tool to help reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels and prepare the transition to system based on renewable energies.

The most significant issues concerning natural or artificial repositories are, on one hand, macro- scale effects, e.g. surface displacements (uplift or subsidence), sinkholes or fault activation, on the other, leakages or transport of the stored materials through conducting rocks, i.e. assessment of the tightness of the storage facilities. The first class of problems is related to field-scale effects, the second one to micro/nano-scale effects. The role of poromechanics in the design, management and abandonment of underground repositories for addressing the issues above has been progressively recognized to be more and more relevant.

The aim of this mini-symposium is to present an up-to-date overview of the state of the art in the understanding  and  modeling  of  processes  related  to  the  storage  of  fluids  underground,  and emphasize the most recent advances in the field. Moreover, this mini-symposium can help create links between investigators operating in adjacent fields, such as theoretical modeling, lab and in-situ experimentation, and numerical implementation, sharing the most significant results. The covered topics include, but are not limited to:

  • micro/nano-scale  modeling  of  porous  media  with  possibly  evolving  microstructure:
  • enhanced models of partially saturated porous media;
  • size effects: role of partial saturation in remodeling phenomena and strain localisation, evolution of the intrinsic permeability and degradation of the elastic stiffness;
  • micro/nano-scale fracturing of porous materials;
  • poro-plastic modeling of partially saturated porous media;
  • macro-scale modeling of underground storage: facture/fault activation, surface deformation, spreading and migration of stored fluids in aquifers;
  • thermo-hydro-mechanical coupling in macro-scale modeling of underground reservoirs;
  • numerical implementation: computational issues, high performance computing. Examples and description of real applications are also welcome.


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