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Institute of Chemical Engineering & High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT)
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  Title Specialised Software & Support Services: Key solutions for porous media simulation, design and optimisation at research and industrial level
  Group Transport phenomena & Porous media group, ICE-HT
  Researcher prof. A. Payatakes
  Abstract The specific research group offers key solutions for the simulation, design, and optimisation of many research and industrial applications in porous solids. It can provide an extended set of specialized user-friendly software tools for study and simulation of real porous materials and estimation of flow and transport properties of fluids within. Each tool has a specific area of application, relative to geology, reservoir and oil engineering, environmental engineering, catalysis, membranes and ceramics manufacturing, and associated R&TD and industrial subjects.
  Description The solutions offered can be of great importance to the simulation, design, and optimisation of many research and industrial applications in porous solids. These include:
  1. Specialised modelling and simulation software for the characterization of natural and synthetic materials, as well as the estimation of their fluid transport properties.
    1. These tools offer effective computer structural representation of porous materials of modern commercial and technological interest, using microstructure information from characterization experiments.
    2. This representation is used for estimation of valuable transport properties, as the absolute and relative permeability, the effective dispersivity, the retardation or filtration capacity and forecast of energy losses, for modern industrial and environmental activities of fluid flow, as water, oil, air, exhaust and natural gas, in these media.
    3. The results of these calculations are also available as a reliable supply to macroscopic simulators.
  2. Support services via (i) the development of completed studies and the attendance of company in vital inquiring programs as subcontractor, and via (ii) educational and training seminars of software that will be on the market.
The software tools offered in the FORTH/4S package can be classified into two types:

I. tools for 3D reconstruction and representation of porous media, entitled in general "PoreSpace", and

II. tools for flow and transport estimation in structured and unstructured porous media, designated as "PoreNetFlow".

The software tools that are available in the package are the following:
  • Class PoreSpace
    • PoreSpace/Genus: Estimation of 3D geometric and topologic characteristics of porous materials; open and closed porosity, pore and contact sizes, connectivity between pores, tortuosity and genus, chamber and throat size correlations.
    • PoreSpace/Explorer: 3D representation of reconstructed porous structures.
    • PoreSpace/Reconstruct: Calculation and reconstruction of thin or compact 3D porous structures via statistical methods.
    • PoreSpace/Flow: Simulation of two-phase flow in porous materials of any geometry.
  • Class PoreNetFlow
    • PoreNetFlow/Deposit: Simulation of deposition of particles and reduction of permeability during flow of aqueous suspensions.
    • PoreNetFlow/Clog: Simulation of dynamic behavior of suspensions of pollutants in advanced stages of deposition.
    • PoreNetFlow/Immiscible Displacement & DeProF: Simulation of flow and miscible and immiscible displacement in enhanced oil recovery processes.
    • PoreNetFlow/Dispersion: Program of simulation of dispersion of pollutant substances in underground reservoirs and subsoil formations.
    • PoreNetFlow/Gas: Gas diffusion and sorption control of porous semiconducting detectors.
Precise and extensive structure determination of permeable porous media is often required in relative modern research and technological activities, in combination with theoretical analysis of transport and sorption phenomena within such materials.
Phenomena of heat and mass transport in porous media often take place in industrial, biological, agricultural and geological activities. Formal application examples are:
  • primary and secondary oil extrusion,
  • activities of deep bed filtering, wetting, drying,
  • segregation of solutions or suspensions via porous membranes,
  • diffusion and heat transport in catalytic pellets,
  • chromatograpic segregation of aqueous solutions,
  • hydrodynamic chromatography,
  • water mobilization in subsoil,
  • environmental risk assessment of pollution in underground formations,
  • flow of natural gas in rocks, and
  • detection of gases with ceramic sensors via diffusion in the vicinity of the pores and surface sorption on the pore walls.
Customers interested in the application and exploitation of proposed company software originate through the following fields:
  • Oil enterprises with research departments where the software will be used for study of morphology of underground rocks and flow of oil and water in underground formations.
  • Manufacturing enterprises of porous filters, membranes, beds of segregation and catalysts, for optimisation and promotion of products of segregation and third level water treatment.
  • Geological Institutes, for underground reservoirs and groundwater studies.
  • Enterprises of environmental studies and environmental risk assessment, on the study of dispersion of hazardous substances in the subsoil.
  • Natural gas enterprises for morphology studies of underground rocks, and flow or storing of natural gas in underground formations.
  • Manufacturing companies of porous ceramic sensors for gas detection at the disposal of natural gas and kindred substances for industrial or domestic uses.
  • Universities and Research Institutes that will use the software for education, research and technological development.
Complete solutions of relevant applications, from the experimental study of properties (porosity, mercury intrusion/extrusion, BET, serial tomography, S. E. M.) up to structure modelling and calculation of transport and sorption properties at the flow fluid in their interior can be also entirely obtained.
  Current development phase This technology is already available for demonstration and has been successfully tested in several cases.
  Intellectual property rights: Secret Know-How
  Type of collaboration sought Joint Venture Agreement, Technical Co-operation, Commercial Agreement with Technical Assistance. The group is already in the position to undertake engineering consulting services in order to provide interested organisations with answers and solutions to engineering problems.