Optimisation of combined geothermal energy recovery and CO2 sequestration in uncertain geothermal sources
The integrated heat-energy recovery and carbon sequestration has been suggested recently by researchers to take simultaneously the benefits of producing renewable energy and storing carbon underground to mitigate global warming issues. CO2 in injected from one side of the system to produce hot water from the other side leaving the CO2 dissolved into the aquifer. The geothermal resources including shallow hot aquifers are large subsurface systems with plethora of sources of uncertainties. These uncertainties need to be incorporated into the design and planning of the injection operation.
Against this background, a robust optimisation (optimisation in presence of uncertainty) is critically needed to maximise heat production and trapped amount of CO2 in one hand, and avoid back production of CO2 and dangerous levels of increase in the pressures of the systems on the other hand. The robust optimisation has been applied in the past on hydrocarbon production, CO2 sequestration and geothermal recovery processes. However, the robust optimisation of coupled geothermal-carbon-storage processes has not been addressed in the literature.
In this project, uncertain petrophysical properties of the subsurface model, operational factors, parameters that define the fluid behaviour (such as relative permeabilities of CO2 and aquifer brine), and uncertain thermal parameters are considered in the robust optimisation. Moreover various methodologies of uncertainty quantification such as Monte Carlo simulation, polynomial chaos expansion and nested sampling are incorporated into optimisation algorithm to choose the most efficient and most accurate method to capture the dynamic evolution of uncertainty in the system.
Candidates should have a 1st/2:1 degree in Mechanical, Chemical or Petroleum Engineering. Knowledge/experience in computer programming and basic knowledge of the standard modelling software packages (TOUGH2 or TOUGHREACT, Schlumberger ECLIPSE or CMG) are desirable.
Funding covers tuition fees and annual maintenance payments of at least the Research Council minimum (currently £13,863) for eligible UK and EU applicants. EU nationals must have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the programme to be eligible for a full award (fees and stipend). Other EU nationals may be eligible for a fees-only award. Self-funded applicants are also welcome.
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