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Fundamental Research
News 14 September 2023

Geothermal plugging: what are the mechanisms and what are the levers for action?

Over time, high-temperature geothermal sites can experience plugging problems. The cause: extremely fine clays in the reinjection water, which progressively reduce the permeability of the underground environment, despite the treatments applied to the surface water. Thesis work has shed light on the mechanisms involved, and provided a glimpse of the means of action that will enable injectivity to be maintained.

Fundamental research (mathematical formula)
News in brief

A better understanding of pollutant transport in the subsoil

Pollutant transport in soils is directly dependent on the heterogeneity of the media present (topology, structure, etc.), which itself is heavily impacted by certain human activities, such as agriculture, industrial operations and mining. The precise description of this phenomenon, across all time scales, can thus prove complex. Yet it is important when it comes to tackling major challenges, such as efficient waste water treatment, or providing access to high-quality drinking water to as many people as possible. In this context, IFPEN’s researchers have been working on methods to gain a better understanding of how pollutants are transported in the underground environment.
mage of a cave with stalactites and stalagmites and an underground waterhole
News in brief

Modeling transfer in porous underground media: a multiscale approach

Underground reservoir modeling in essential for many applications: aquifer management, underground compound or energy storage, mineral and energy resource recovery (e.g., geothermal energy). Modeling makes it possible to optimize resource management while minimizing societal and environmental risks. However, in order to be efficient, this modeling must be multiscale, and IFPEN’s research teams are therefore guided by this requirement.
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Research engineer / project leader
Holder of an Engineering Graduate Degree in General Engineering from the "Ecole Polytechnique" (Palaiseau – France) and a Specialized Engineering Graduate Degree in Petroleum Engineering and Project
Issue 46 of Science@ifpen - Earth Sciences and Environmental Technologies
News in brief

Colloid transport in porous media: deposits and plugging

The transport of colloidal particles in porous media is relevant to a number of fields, including geosciences and environmental engineering. Particle-matrix interactions can lead to deposit formation and accumulation, potentially damaging the medium and altering its permeability. (...) At IFPEN, the problem was originally studied for oil and gas production, but research has now been extended to include the fields of geothermal energy and geological storage of CO2.
Issue 46 of Science@ifpen - Earth Sciences and Environmental Technologies
News in brief

X-rays and Neutrons for imaging salt migration

Salt precipitation in permeable rocks is a risk faced by some energy sectors, particularly for gas storage in geological formations during operational phases (injection and extraction), when there is contact with saline aquifers. (...) This precipitation reduces the space where fluids can circulate, altering rock permeability, or even leading to plugging under certain conditions. In order to understand the underlying mechanisms behind this damaging phenomenon, experiments examining gas flow in a brine-saturated porous medium were conducted on IFPEN’s CAL-X flow test bench...
Issue 46 of Science@ifpen - Earth Sciences and Environmental Technologies
News in brief

Underground modeling: an essential step for the energy transition

To address the challenges of the energy transition, the subsurface has an important role to play, both in terms of providing resources and offering storage solutions. (...) Numerical models can help gain a better understanding of the subsurface with a view to its long-term management and optimal use. Developed for a number of years now at IFPEN, initially for the petroleum industry, such models cover scales ranging from the sedimentary basin to the reservoir...
Issue 46 of Science@ifpen - Earth Sciences and Environmental Technologies
News in brief

Global change, impact on landscapes and water resources

Today, the impact of climate change and human activities on the evolution of landscapes and water resources is a major challenge. Predicting it requires dedicated tools capable of evaluating, 100 years ahead, the consequences of different scenarios on watersheds and groundwater. To this end, IFPEN is developing modeling approaches targeting erosion-transport-deposition phenomena combined with surface and subsurface flows. ...
Issue 45 of Science@ifpen
News in brief

Digital Rock Physics at IFPEN

Today, characterization of geological reservoirs, a long-standing theme in petroleum exploration, becomes a base of interest for a variety of applications, such as CO2 and hydrogen storage as well as geothermal energy. In recent years, the combined use of 3D microtomography (or micro-CT ) imaging and advanced simulation techniques has allowed the emergence of a digital approach to computing the petrophysical properties of reservoir rocks (Digital Rock Physics). This represents a real complement - and in some cases an alternative - to traditional laboratory measurements.
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Research Engineer / Technical Advisor
Organic Geochemistry PhD. HdR.
Sciences of the Earth and the Universe HDR
Maria-Fernanda Romero-Sarmiento joined IFP Energies nouvelles in 2010 as a research scientist in organic geochemistry. She holds a Ph.D. in Organic Geochemistry from the University of Lille (France)
Issue 42 of Science@IFPEN
News in brief

In situ study of the detailed structure of a foam flowing in a real porous medium

Foam injection during oil production or ground remediation is aimed at overcoming problems of gravity segregation and viscous fingering a created by fluid injection. Improving this practice requires