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Numerical investigation of coupled Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) processes in geo-energy production

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

The mix of energy supply worldwide has changed dramatically in the last few decades. In the UK, in order to tackle climate change and increasing energy consumption, there has been a clear movement from fossil towards renewable and sustainable energy sources. Wind energy, for example, has generated 98% of Scottish electricity demand in October 2018, which has established a world-class record.

On the other hand, deep geothermal energy, which is another type of renewable resource with identified significant potential in the UK, still has a long way to go before it can achieve a commercial stage, due to a number of scientific and engineering challenges that are yet to be resolved. Safe, sustainable and efficient exploitation of deep geo-energy resources requires a comprehensive understanding of geo-systems, including the interaction of pressure and temperature variations, chemical reactions, fluid/mass transport phenomena and the mechanical response of the formation. Such a complex system requires the modelling of coupled Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) processes.

The goal of this project is to apply bespoke codes (e.g. TOUGH3, OpenGeoSys) to investigate the THMC processes in geo-energy production, with a focus on non-isothermal multiphase flow in fractured/unfractured porous media. The open structure of these codes allows users to formulate a holistic multi-physics model under the consideration of different geo-processes. The investigation results could be broadly applied to solve scientific and engineering issues in subsurface studies, such as Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS), Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), waste heat recovery from hydrocarbon developments and methane gas extraction.

Applicants with strong academic background in geo-energy engineering or mathematics are encouraged to apply. For further information please contact Dr Xiaolei Liu:

Funding Notes

This research project is in competition for funding with one or more of these project in the School. Usually, the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is only available to UK citizen.

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