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Field-scale modeling of microbially induced calcite precipitation

  • A. B. Cunningham
  • H. Class
  • A. Ebigbo
  • R. Gerlach
  • A. J. Phillips
  • J. Hommel
Original Paper
  • 68 Downloads

Abstract

The biogeochemical process known as microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) is being investigated for engineering and material science applications. To model MICP process behavior in porous media, computational simulators must couple flow, transport, and relevant biogeochemical reactions. Changes in media porosity and permeability due to biomass growth and calcite precipitation, as well as their effects on one another must be considered. A comprehensive Darcy-scale model has been developed by Ebigbo et al. (Water Resour. Res. 48(7), W07519, 2012) and Hommel et al. (Water Resour. Res. 51, 3695–3715, 2015) and validated at different scales of observation using laboratory experimental systems at the Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE), Montana State University (MSU). This investigation clearly demonstrates that a close synergy between laboratory experimentation at different scales and corresponding simulation model development is necessary to advance MICP application to the field scale. Ultimately, model predictions of MICP sealing of a fractured sandstone formation, located 340.8 m below ground surface, were made and compared with corresponding field observations. Modeling MICP at the field scale poses special challenges, including choosing a reasonable model-domain size, initial and boundary conditions, and determining the initial distribution of porosity and permeability. In the presented study, model predictions of deposited calcite volume agree favorably with corresponding field observations of increased injection pressure during the MICP fracture sealing test in the field. Results indicate that the current status of our MICP model now allows its use for further subsurface engineering applications, including well-bore cement sealing and certain fracture-related applications in unconventional oil and gas production.

Keywords

Microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) Permeability modification Field-scale modeling Reactive transport 

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Notes

Funding information

The International Research Training Group NUPUS, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), is acknowledged for enabling the model development through funding between 2007 and 2016. Further, we acknowledge the DFG for funding ongoing research related to this study in the grants HO6055/1-1 and within the Collaborative Research Center 1313. Funding for the laboratory and field MICP experimental work was provided by two US Department of Energy grants DE-FE0004478, “Advanced CO2 Leakage Mitigation using Engineered Biomineralization Sealing Technologies” and DE-FE000959, “Field Test and Evaluation of Engineered Biomineralization Technology for Sealing Existing Wells” with matching support from Southern Company Generation and Shell International Exploration and Production B.V. Additional financial support was also provided by DOE DE-FG02-13ER86571 and NSF award no. DMS0934696. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Energy (DOE).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Biofilm EngineeringMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of HydrosystemsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeophysicsSwiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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