Subsurface Flow and Transport

Remediation strategies have been developed for a variety of contaminants by integrating theory, experiment and numerical simulation prior to field-scale studies. Researchers can conduct experiments at various scales, and compare experimental and numerical results to address the nation's most challenging problems in the subsurface related to contaminant transport, carbon cycling, enhanced oil recovery and carbon dioxide sequestration. See a complete list of Subsurface Flow and Transport instruments.

Resources and Techniques

  • Users have access to all the tools—flow cells, simulation programs and analytical instruments from chromatographs to spectrometers—necessary for designing and conducting a subsurface flow and transport experiments.
  • Designing experiments—Simulators such as STOMP (Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases) are used to define the boundary and initial conditions of the experiment.
  • Conducting experiments—Micro- to intermediate-flow cells are used with analytical tools to generate data about how contaminants move through the soil.
  • A full suite of analytical tools are available to generate data about samples.

Description

Capability Details

  • Intermediate-scale columns and flow cells
  • Pore-scale microfluidic and imaging capabilities
  • High-pressure/temperature cells for research at reservoir conditions
  • Dual energy gamma radiation system
  • Integrated hydraulic properties apparatus
  • Relative permeability apparatus
  • Analytical tools including ion, liquid and gas chromatographs, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and carbon analysis tools

Instruments

The carbon analyzer is used to analyze total carbon (TC), inorganic carbon (IC), total organic carbon (TOC), purgeable organic carbon (POC), and non...
Custodian(s): Tom Wietsma
The Agilent 4500 Series inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) is available for all research areas requiring analysis of trace metals...
Custodian(s): Tom Wietsma
This instrument is housed in EMSL.  More details about this instrument will be available soon.
Custodian(s): Tom Wietsma, Mart Oostrom
This ion chromatography capability comprises two Dionex DX-500 modular chromatography systems that can be configured to conduct fully automated...
Custodian(s): Tom Wietsma
The Agilent 1100 Series liquid chromatography system is used for all research areas that require quantitative determination of nonvolatile and...
Custodian(s): Tom Wietsma

Publications

International Simple Glass - a six oxide borosilicate glass selected by the international nuclear glass community to improve the understanding of...
For the first time, the use of an argon cluster ion sputtering source has been demonstrated to perform superiorly relative to traditional oxygen and...
Denitrification is a microbial process that reduces nitrate and nitrite to nitrous oxide (N2O) or dinitrogen (N2) with a strong implication to global...
Dissimilatory iron-reducing bacteria can utilize insoluble Fe(Mn)-oxides as a terminal electron acceptor under anaerobic conditions. For Shewanella...
Cost-effective creation of high-permeability reservoirs inside deep crystalline bedrock is the primary challenge for the feasibility of enhanced...

Science Highlights

Posted: June 03, 2016
Geochemists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used EMSL capabilities to help developed a mathematical formula to scale subsurface reaction...
Posted: September 01, 2015
The Science Soil contains the largest amount of terrestrial carbon on the planet, so a small change in soil carbon can have a large impact on...
Posted: March 31, 2015
The Science Pore-scale models are useful for studying relationships between fundamental processes at the scale of tens to hundreds of microns—the...
Posted: July 11, 2014
The Science The physical and chemical processes that occur at the scale of individual soil particles dictate the way fluids flow underground over...
Posted: April 21, 2014
A multidisciplinary team of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory using EMSL resources developed a new approach to simulate water...

Instruments

At EMSL, a drainage experiment was conducted at 9 MPa and 40 degrees C by injecting supercritical CO2 (scCO2) into the sandstone-analogue pore...
The objective of this work is to utilize the micromodels from EMSL’s Subsurface Flow and Transport Laboratory to evaluate the rate and extent of...

Remediation strategies have been developed for a variety of contaminants by integrating theory, experiment and numerical simulation prior to field-scale studies. Researchers can conduct experiments at various scales, and compare experimental and numerical results to address the nation's most challenging problems in the subsurface related to contaminant transport, carbon cycling, enhanced oil recovery and carbon dioxide sequestration. See a complete list of Subsurface Flow and Transport instruments.

Resources and Techniques

  • Users have access to all the tools—flow cells, simulation programs and analytical instruments from chromatographs to spectrometers—necessary for designing and conducting a subsurface flow and transport experiments.
  • Designing experiments—Simulators such as STOMP (Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases) are used to define the boundary and initial conditions of the experiment.
  • Conducting experiments—Micro- to intermediate-flow cells are used with analytical tools to generate data about how contaminants move through the soil.
  • A full suite of analytical tools are available to generate data about samples.

Wellbore cement fracture evolution at the cement–basalt caprock interface during geologic carbon sequestration.

Abstract: 

Composite Portland cement-basalt caprock cores with fractures, as well as neat Portland cement columns, were prepared to understand the geochemical and geomechanical effects on the integrity of wellbores with defects during geologic carbon sequestration. The samples were reacted with CO2-saturated groundwater at 50 ºC and 10 MPa for 3 months under static conditions, while one cement-basalt core was subjected to mechanical stress at 2.7 MPa before the CO2 reaction. Micro-XRD and SEM-EDS data collected along the cement-basalt interface after 3-month reaction with CO2-saturated groundwater indicate that carbonation of cement matrix was extensive with the precipitation of calcite, aragonite, and vaterite, whereas the alteration of basalt caprock was minor. X-ray microtomography (XMT) provided three-dimensional (3-D) visualization of the opening and interconnection of cement fractures due to mechanical stress. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling further revealed that this stress led to the increase in fluid flow and hence permeability. After the CO2-reaction, XMT images displayed that calcium carbonate precipitation occurred extensively within the fractures in the cement matrix, but only partially along the fracture located at the cement-basalt interface. The 3-D visualization and CFD modeling also showed that the precipitation of calcium carbonate within the cement fractures after the CO2-reaction resulted in the disconnection of cement fractures and permeability decrease. The permeability calculated based on CFD modeling was in agreement with the experimentally determined permeability. This study demonstrates that XMT imaging coupled with CFD modeling represent a powerful tool to visualize and quantify fracture evolution and permeability change in geologic materials and to predict their behavior during geologic carbon sequestration or hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production and enhanced geothermal systems.

Citation: 
Jung HB, S Kabilan, JP Carson, AP Kuprat, W Um, PF Martin, ME Dahl, TA Kafentzis, T Varga, SA Stephens, BW Arey, KC Carroll, A Bonneville, and CA Fernandez.2014."Wellbore cement fracture evolution at the cement–basalt caprock interface during geologic carbon sequestration."Applied Geochemistry 47:1-16. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.04.010
Authors: 
Varga Tamas
Bruce W Arey
Jung HB
S Kabilan
JP Carson
AP Kuprat
W Um
PF Martin
ME Dahl
TA Kafentzis
T Varga
SA Stephens
BW Arey
KC Carroll
A Bonneville
CA Fernez
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2014

Effects of soluble flavin on heterogeneous electron transfer between surface-exposed bacterial cytochromes and iron oxides.

Abstract: 

Dissimilatory iron-reducing bacteria can utilize insoluble Fe(Mn)-oxides as a terminal electron acceptor under anaerobic conditions. For Shewanella species specifically, some evidence suggests that iron reduction is associated with the secretion of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and riboflavin that are proposed to mediate electron transfer (Marsili et al., 2008). In this work, we used methyl viologen (MV•+)-encapsulated, porin-cytochrome complex (MtrCAB) embedded liposomes (MELs) as a synthetic model of the Shewanella outer membrane to investigate the proposed mediating behavior of secreted flavins. The reduction kinetics of goethite, hematite and lepidocrocite (200 µM) by MELs ([MV•+] ~ 42 µM and MtrABC ≤ 1 nM) were determined in the presence FMN at pH 7.0 in N2 atmosphere by monitoring the concentrations of MV•+ and FMN through their characteristic UV-visible absorption spectra. Experiments were performed where i) FMN and Fe(III)-oxide were mixed and then reacted with the reduced MELs and ii) FMN was reacted with the reduced MELs followed by addition of Fe(III)-oxide. The redox reactions proceeded in two steps: a fast step that was completed in a few seconds, and a slower one lasting over 400 seconds. For all three Fe(III)-oxides, the initial reaction rate in the presence of a low concentration of FMN (≤ 1 µM) was at least a factor of five faster than those with MELs alone, and orders of magnitude faster than those by FMNH2, suggesting that FMN may serve as a co-factor that enhances electron transfer from outer-membrane c-cytochromes to Fe(III)-oxides. The rate and extent of the initial reaction followed the order of lepidocrocite > hematite > goethite, the same as their reduction potentials, implying thermodynamic control on reaction rate. However, at higher FMN concentrations (> 1 µM), the reaction rates for both steps decreased and varied inversely with FMN concentration, indicating that FMN inhibited the MEL to Fe(III)-oxide electron transfer reaction. The implications of the observed kinetic behaviors to flavin-mediated Fe(III) oxide reduction in natural environments are discussed.

Citation: 
Wang Z, Z Shi, L Shi, GF White, DJ Richardson, TA Clarke, JK Fredrickson, and JM Zachara.2015."Effects of soluble flavin on heterogeneous electron transfer between surface-exposed bacterial cytochromes and iron oxides."Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 163:299-310. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2015.03.039
Authors: 
Wang Zheming
Wang Z
Z Shi
L Shi
GF White
DJ Richardson
TA Clarke
JK Fredrickson
JM Zachara
Facility: 
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Publication year: 
2015

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Dr. Bowden joined EMSL in 2009 and currently manages EMSL's optical spectroscopy and diffraction, subsurface flow and transport, and microfabrication and deposition capabilities. He is responsible for the X-ray diffraction facility and assists...