Multiphase flow in responsive media: Hydrate formation in Carbon Geosequestration

   Centre for Fluid and Complex Systems

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  Dr Ran Holtzman  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Fluids moving through natural materials like sandstone can dissolve or precipitate solids as they travel. The alteration and damage caused by this type of reactive flow are behind several urgent and seemingly disparate challenges, including in the subsurface storage of carbon and hydrogen, the formation of methane hydrates, and even in the weathering of historic buildings. However, the overarching difficulty is the same in each of these cases: upscaling predictions from the lab to the application scales.

This interdisciplinary project aims to improve understanding of the physics of reactive flows underlying hydrate formation in porous media.  For example, liquid CO2 injected for long-term storage into deep reservoirs can generate hydrates as it mixes with groundwater, forming crustal fingers by the so-called "chemical garden" phenomena. This is a self-arresting process, which slows down any further mixing, by blocking up the pore space.  

In this project you will use cutting-edge numerical and experimental methods to explore the interplay between fluid dynamics and hydrate formation. Your aim will be to develop a computationally-efficient pore-network model, which can scale up the physics of how alteration happens at the scale of micron-sized pores, in order to accurately predict effects that are only seen at scales of metres and above. You will also be responsible for training and experimentally validating this model by laboratory experiments conducted at the extreme conditions representative of reservoirs several km deep underground.

This degree will provide you with access to a broad spectrum of expertise and facilities, under the supervision of Dr. Holtzman (Coventry University), Prof. Goehring (Nottingham Trent University, NTU), and Dr. Rochelle (British Geological Survey, BGS, Nottingham). Within this collaborative project, partially funded by the BGS (NERC), part of this PhD will be embedded in Nottingham with the BGS/NTU, exploiting their world-class experimental facilities. You will develop experiments of hydrate formation during the pumping of CO2 into water-saturated porous media. The BGS Hydrates and Ices Laboratory will allow simulating natural, high-pressure conditions, whereas NTU’s advanced imaging facilities, including MRI and micro-computed tomography, will provide live images of the growing hydrates.

We seek a highly-talented, motivated, and open-minded candidate, with background in physics, fluid mechanics, geosciences, or a related discipline. Experience with laboratory experiments as well as computer simulations is highly desirable.

For further details please contact Dr. Holtzman or Prof. Goehring.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

The candidate will benefit from the exciting, research excellence driven environment in Nottingham Trent University and the British Geological Survey (BGS), and the world-class experimental facilities in BGS.

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD 

·      A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution. 


·      the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years 

·      An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections. 

For further details please visit: 

To find out more about the project please contact: [Email Address Removed]

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter and supporting statement

Engineering (12) Geology (18) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Tuition fees and Stipend