PhD position on fault leakage related to subsurface hydrogen and carbon storage

The GeoEnergy Research (Prof. Andreas Busch) and MuPhi (Prof. Florian Doster) Research Groups at Heriot-Watt University are looking for a motivated PhD researcher to work on the impact of multiphase flow effects on fault leakage from geological reservoirs used for fluid storage, focusing specifically on CCS and hydrogen. This research will ground on recent data that has been obtained from multiscale 4D X-ray imaging at the Swiss Light Source. It will provide new and detailed insights into the multiphase fluid dynamics in rough fractures. Using novel data from synchrotron experiments will support more accurate predictions of the potential fluid leak rates from subsurface reservoirs. These are urgently needed to improve our confidence in subsurface fluid storage over long periods of time. This research can be divided into the following objectives:

  1. Develop a robust understanding of multiphase flow in rough fractures, based on 4D flow data. The data will be analysed towards displacement to obtain relative permeability and capillary pressure curves at a given effective stress but with varying surface roughness, aperture heterogeneity, and flow rates (capillary numbers).
  2. Represent fracture flow phenomena at the Darcy scale in physical models for fractures and fracture networks. This will support caprock leakage risk assessments by improving our confidence in the determination of leak rates by bringing together fracture network data (from previous research by the PI/co-Is) and upscaled fluid displacement models from this research.

This scholarship is available to UK and overseas students and in partnership with Shell Global Solutions. Funding is secured for 42 months and we aim for a May 2023 start. Application deadline is January 29th.

Further details can be found on the university website:

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