PhD opportunities

Numerical and experimental approaches on the behavior of salt caverns during storage of hydrogen

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseGosciences et goingnierie
Doctoral SchoolGRNE - Gosciences, Ressources Naturelles et Environnement
SupervisorM. Hedi SELLAMI
Research unitGeosciences
ContactABUAISHA Murad
Starting dateOctober 1st 2019
KeywordsUnderground salt caverns, turbulent/laminar flow, heat transfer, finite element method
AbstractThe intermittency problem that usually characterizes renewable energy led to vast storage techniques in the last few decades. Hydrogen/energy storage in solution-mined caverns is one of the suggested solutions. In this context, a precise prediction of the cavern thermodynamic state is needed. Besides, such a thermodynamic response requires to be fully coupled with the thermo-hydro-mechanical behavior of the rock mass surrounding the cavern.

Most of the recent available researches with regard to gas storage in salt caverns depend on numerical tools that assume a uniform cavern thermodynamic state, thus they ignore the spatial variations of the cavern thermodynamic variables as well as the flow nature (laminar/turbulent). These numerical approaches allow for low cost and fast simulations, however, a question arises about their validity during fast cycling/utilization of caverns.

This proposed PhD thesis is dedicated to investigate the integrity of salt cavern mechanical and thermodynamic behaviors during fast and slow cycling while addressing the entire complexity of the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) problem, i.e. full discretization of the cavern, cavern gas velocity field and thermodynamic variables spatial variations, nature of flow, and the 3D thermo-hydro-mechanical behavior of salt. Moreover, the problem of H2 storage in salt caverns is particular compared to other gases. This is attributed to the large mobility of hydrogen induced by its very small molecular length, and its potential reactivity with other chemical species that can be present in the storage environment. We aspire that this PhD thesis would shed a light on the phenomenon of hydrogen seepage into the salt rock during fast and slow cycling.
ProfileInterested applicants need to have good scientific backgrounds in thermodynamics and mechanics of solids. Numerical expertise in the finite element method is needed as well. Other skills may be learnt during the PhD course. Applicants who appreciate laboratory work are strongly recommended to apply.
FundingFinancement d'un Etablissement d'enseignement suprieur