ADVERTISEMENT

Tuning The State-Of-The-Art Numerical Simulator To Recover Energy From Methane Hydrates

With the ever-increasing demand for cleaner energy, natural gas is playing a growing role in the global energy mix replacing coal and oil to help transition into a future carbon-constrained world. Methane hydrates (MHs) have been considered as the potential future resource of energy due to its abundant resource volume of CH4 (20,000 trillion cubic meter) in nature.

MHs are stable at suitable low temperatures and high-pressure conditions. They are typically found at permafrost locations and offshore locations near the continental shelf. This resource volume is probably twice of the total oil and gas reserves on earth. Exciting R&D programs are ongoing in Japan, China, Korea, India, and the U.S.A., trying to exploit the potential of MHs for energy within the next 20 years.

ADVERTISEMENT
(Image republished with permission)

The numerical simulation of the production performance of MH reservoirs under different production techniques is an important tool, as it provides critical information on the production rate and duration of reservoir fluids (water and CH4 gas). It is practically the only method that is able to predict long-term production from MH reservoirs since most field tests are short in duration because of the hostile production environment and high capital investment.

To tackle this front, the state-of-the-art reservoir simulator of methane hydrate (TOUGH+Hydrate v1.5) was developed by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory to model the dynamic behavior of MH formation and dissociation together with the associated fluids production behavior in geological media accounting for all known physics (thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluids flow, phase change criteria). Such reservoir simulator tools though powerful in its efficiency, require validation against laboratory experimental data or field production data to install confidence in its predictions.

In this direction, a recent study faithfully duplicated the multi-stage MH formation process in an unconsolidated sandy medium in a 1.0 L reactor numerically by employing the T+H v1.5 simulator based on a history-matching technique. Simulation prediction of the system performance (pressure and temperature) achieved excellent agreement with the experimental observation. Their study reveals that the phase change behavior of MH formation and dissociation in the sandy porous medium is better represented by a kinetic reaction model rather than an equilibrium reaction model.

Moreover, from the simulation prediction, it is elucidated that the spatial distribution of hydrate (SH) in sandy medium inside reactor can be significantly heterogeneous varying from SH = 5% in the reactor center to SH = 65% towards the reactor boundary. This finding is a breakthrough, which improves our understanding of the process of MH formation both in terms of temporal and spatial distribution.

ADVERTISEMENT

These findings are described in the article entitledĀ Numerical analysis of experimental studies of methane hydrate formation in a sandy porous medium, recently published in the journalĀ Applied Energy. This work was carried out by Zhenyuan Yin, George Moridis, Hoon Kiang Tan and Praveen Linga. This is a collaboration work involving theĀ Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering in the National University of Singapore, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Lloydā€™s Register Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Discovery Of Oldest Stone Tools Outside Of Africa Hints At Unidentified Human Ancestors

It was long thought that Africa was where the human species first developed, but now, a new discovery published in […]

Electron Affinity Trend

The electron affinity trendĀ describes the trend across the periodic table and describes how much energy in an atom is released […]

Slowing Population Growth Is Important And Immigration Can Help

A future with unabated climate change is a scary one. It is a future of rising seas and amplified extreme […]

Treating Sleeping Disorders Could Be As Easy As Taking Vitamin D

Our world is a busy place with people awake at all hours of night and day. Somewhere around the world, […]

Unified Protocol For Treating Multiple Mental Health Concerns

Patients seeking treatment for mental health concerns often meet criteria for more than one disorder. Despite high rates of comorbidity, […]

A Changing Landscape For Petroleum And Internal Combustion Engines

The existing transport system, built around internal combustion engines powered by petroleum-derived liquid fuels, meets an essential need and supports […]

Steps Toward A Long-term Record Of Dust, Smoke And Other Atmospheric Aerosols From Space

While the word ā€˜aerosolā€™ conjures up images of spray cans, to atmospheric scientists the term refers to something different: small […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?