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DIGITAL ROCK PHYSICS

With the recent and accelerating improvements in imaging techniques, such as X-ray computed microtomography combined with High Performance Computing techniques, it is now possible to have high-resolution three-dimensional descriptions of rock samples, and to solve Navier-Stokes-based simulation of flow and transport in the pore space. The use of images of the pore space combined with dynamic modeling is sometimes referred to as Digital Rock Physics (DRP). DRP allows a better characterization of the detailed structures of tight rocks and obtain deeper insight into the rock-fluids interactions. We develop simulation tools for DRP that solve complex physics at the pore-scale for conventional and non-conventional processes.

CARBONE CAPTURE AND STORAGE

Capture and geological storage of CO2 to reduce carbon emission is among the most critical energy technologies of the next century. My current research, supported by the US Department of Energy through the Center for Nanoscale Controls on Geologic CO2, aims at improving our fundamental understanding of the pore-scale processes associated with the injection and sequestration of CO2 into the subsurface and to assess the long-term issues such as the efficiency of CO2 retention in reservoir rocks resulting from capillary and dissolution trapping, and from the conversion of dissolved CO2 to solid carbonate. I am developing computational tools to simulate these different processes at the pore-scale, and to translate the results to larger scales.

FLOW AND TRANSPORT IN TIGHT AND SHALE FORMATIONS

With the worldwide proven reserves of shale gas estimated to be more than 200 years of the worldwide hydrocarbons production, shale gas production is of prime interest for the oil industry. The transport mechanisms stimulated during the production phase, however, are quite complex, and they are difficult to quantify. This project aims at improving the fundamental knowledges of these transport and expulsion mechanisms by mean of pore-scale modeling to enhance production while reducing the environmental impacts.

SUPERFLUID HELIUM IN POROUS MEDIA

Below 2.17 K, helium no longer behaves as a classical fluid: it has almost no viscosity and a high effective thermal conductivity that is used to cool superconducting devices. In collaboration with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of Toulouse (IMFT) and the French Atomic Research Institute (CEA), we investigate the theory of superfluid helium (He II) in porous media to design enhanced cooling devices for the Large Hadron Collider’s magnets, the particle accelerator in Geneva.

MODELING DISTILLATION COLUMNS WITH STRUCTURED PACKINGS

My Ph.D. research at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of Toulouse (IMFT), supervised by Pr. Michel Quintard and funded by Air Liquide, concerned the modeling of air distillation and CO2 absorption columns equipped with structured packings. Such structures maximize the exchange surface between gas and liquid while pressure drops remain low. Due to their peculiar structured geometry, the modeling of the multiphase flow from a macroscopic point of view remains a challenging problem that has to be solved to design enhanced devices. I developed an original and comprehensive physically-motivated model using a multi-scale analysis to simulate gas-liquid flow and mass transport through the distillation columns.

IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCES OF HYDROGEN PRODUCTION PLANTS

To improve the performance of hydrogen production units using fixed bed columns that contain adsorbents such as silica gel, active carbons or zeolites, recent innovations suggest packing the adsorbent together with phase change materials (PCM). Indeed, heat transfers induced by the adsorption phenomena are known to reduce the performance of the production units, and the objective of the PCM is to smooth thermal effects
during the separation process. I designed mathematical models  to assess the benefit of introducing PCM in the columns.