My research concerns porous media flow, focusing on coupled heat transfer and reactive flow problems over multiple scales. I am part of the DynScale project.
Heat transport in the subsurface is motivated by production of geothermal energy. Density currents in the groundwater can affect the heat production: As one creates a temperature difference in the ground by extracting heat, density driven currents can initiate as colder groundwater is heavier and flow downwards, while warmer groundwater flow upwards. This redistribution of heat can affect how much heat the well can produce.
I also take into account how geochemical reactions (caused by the temperature change) in the subsurface can affect the reservoir, and develop better models to describe these changes. Here, the geochemical reactions can change the pore geometry through mineral precipitation and dissolution, and potentially block flow paths through clogging. Such problems are challenging as processes at the pore scale (typically, micrometers) affect the behavior at the larger scale (up to kilometers), and efficient models honoring the pore scale behavior is needed.
My current research focuses on two-phase flow, where water and gas (e.g., air, vapor, CO2) or oil both flow through the porous medium. This is relevant for CO2-sequestration, geothermal energy and oil production. The interface between the two phases affects their behavior, including how they flow through the porous medium. Hence, understanding the processes at the pore scale is essential to understand the large-scale behavior.
I have previously worked with ocean currents in the North-Atlantic. More specific, how currents across the Greenland-Scotland ridge are affected by wind. These currents are important for the climate in northwestern Europe as warm waters are brought northwards (by the extended Gulf Stream) in the surface and cold waters are returned at depth. Measurements of these currents show a rich behavior on seasonal and interannual time scales, and measurements taken more than 1000km away from each other show similar coherence. Such a behavior – and coherence – is likely affected by large atmospheric signals and we found how the wind systems over the Nordic Seas could be the cause of the observed variability on seasonal time scales. On interannual time scales the density changes of the deep waters in the Nordic Seas become more important.