Computational Geosciences

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 565–577 | Cite as

An integrative approach to robust design and probabilistic risk assessment for CO2 storage in geological formations

  • Sergey Oladyshkin
  • Holger Class
  • Rainer Helmig
  • Wolfgang Nowak
Original Paper


CO2 storage in geological formations is currently being discussed intensively as a technology with a high potential for mitigating CO2 emissions. However, any large-scale application requires a thorough analysis of the potential risks. Current numerical simulation models are too expensive for probabilistic risk analysis or stochastic approaches based on a brute-force approach of repeated simulation. Even single deterministic simulations may require parallel high-performance computing. The multiphase flow processes involved are too non-linear for quasi-linear error propagation and other simplified stochastic tools. As an alternative approach, we propose a massive stochastic model reduction based on the probabilistic collocation method. The model response is projected onto a higher-order orthogonal basis of polynomials to approximate dependence on uncertain parameters (porosity, permeability, etc.) and design parameters (injection rate, depth, etc.). This allows for a non-linear propagation of model uncertainty affecting the predicted risk, ensures fast computation, and provides a powerful tool for combining design variables and uncertain variables into one approach based on an integrative response surface. Thus, the design task of finding optimal injection regimes explicitly includes uncertainty, which leads to robust designs with a minimum failure probability. We validate our proposed stochastic approach by Monte Carlo simulation using a common 3D benchmark problem (Class et al., Comput Geosci 13:451–467, 2009). A reasonable compromise between computational efforts and precision was reached already with second-order polynomials. In our case study, the proposed approach yields a significant computational speed-up by a factor of 100 compared with the Monte Carlo evaluation. We demonstrate that, due to the non-linearity of the flow and transport processes during CO2 injection, including uncertainty in the analysis leads to a systematic and significant shift of the predicted leakage rates toward higher values compared with deterministic simulations, affecting both risk estimates and the design of injection scenarios.


Polynomial chaos CO2 storage Multiphase flow Porous media Risk assessment Uncertainty Integrative response surfaces 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergey Oladyshkin
    • 1
  • Holger Class
    • 1
  • Rainer Helmig
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Nowak
    • 1
  1. 1.SRC Simulation Technology, Institute of Hydraulic Engineering (LH2)University of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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