Using Direct Numerical Simulation of Pore-Level Events to Improve Pore-Network Models for Prediction of Residual Trapping of CO2

Amir H. Kohanpur, Yu Chen, Albert J. Valocchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Direct numerical simulation and pore-network modeling are common approaches to study the physics of two-phase flow through natural rocks. For assessment of the long-term performance of geological sequestration of CO2, it is important to model the full drainage-imbibition cycle to provide an accurate estimate of the trapped CO2. While direct numerical simulation using pore geometry from micro-CT rock images accurately models two-phase flow physics, it is computationally prohibitive for large rock volumes. On the other hand, pore-network modeling on networks extracted from micro-CT rock images is computationally efficient but utilizes simplified physics in idealized geometric pore elements. This study uses the lattice-Boltzmann method for direct numerical simulation of CO2-brine flow in idealized pore elements to develop a new set of pore-level flow models for the pore-body filling and snap-off events in pore-network modeling of imbibition. Lattice-Boltzmann simulations are conducted on typical idealized pore-network configurations, and the interface evolution and local capillary pressure are evaluated to develop modified equations of local threshold capillary pressure of pore elements as a function of shape factor and other geometrical parameters. The modified equations are then incorporated into a quasi-static pore-network flow solver. The modified model is applied on extracted pore-network of sandstone samples, and saturation of residual trapped CO2 is computed for a drainage-imbibition cycle. The modified model yields different statistics of pore-level events compared with the original model; in particular, the occurrence of snap-off in pore-throats is reduced resulting in a more frontal displacement pattern along the main injection direction. Compared to the original model, the modified model is in closer agreement with the residual trapped CO2 obtained from core flow experiments and direct numerical simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number710160
JournalFrontiers in Water
StatePublished - Jan 4 2022


  • CO storage and sequestration
  • lattice-boltzmann
  • pore-network (PN) modeling
  • pore-scale modeling
  • residual trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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