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Martinez-Lorenzo Awarded $546K DOE Grant

August 21, 2017

MIE/ECE Assistant Professor Jose Martinez-Lorenzo was awarded a $546K Department of Energy grant for "Fusing Thermoacoustic, Electromagnetic and Acoustic/Seismic Wave Fields for Subsurface Characterization and Imaging of Flow Transport".

Abstract Source: DOE

Accurate predictions of fluid flow, mass transport and reaction rates critically impact the efficiency and reliability of subsurface exploration and situation awareness. Quantitative dynamical sensing and imaging can play a pivotal role in the ability to make such predictions. Two energy-driven applications will be studied in this research program: petrophysical assessment of hydrocarbon reservoirs, and monitoring anthropogenic CO2 storage underground. These two challenging applications require research breakthroughs to overcome the following barriers in the field of sensing, imaging and characterization: (1) there is a need to develop new science and technology base that will enable a better understanding of the interaction of physical fields with fluid-filled porous media; (2) there is no comprehensive characterization of the natural variability of geologic media at multiple scales; and (3) there is a need to enhance current geophysical imaging capabilities by fusing data from multiple sensors at multiple scales, in quasi-real-time and with limited data availability.

The overarching goal of this research program is to gain knowledge on the theory and experimental validation of a new unified sensing and imaging methodology for coupling Electromagnetic (EM), Acoustic/Seismic (AC/S), and novel Thermoacoustic (TA) physical fields, which will be applicable to multi-physics and multi-scale material characterization and underground imaging of fluid flow in porous media. The proposed fundamental research needed to overcome the aforementioned barriers is structured in three main thrusts. The first one will be focused on the modeling of wave propagation physics. Specifically, it will build a unified 3D full wave computational model for joint simulation of EM, AC/S, and novel TA fields; and it will study the fundamental limitations of TA in terms of signal to noise ratio, uncertainty due to inhomogeneities in heating patterns, and EM-AC/S properties. The second thrust will be focused on the petrophysical characterization at the pore-scale. Specifically, it will develop a joint multi-scale and multi-physics rock physics model using Monte-Carlo-based and statistical regression approaches. The third thrust will be focused on coupling EM, AC/S, TA imaging at the reservoir-scale. Specifically, it will develop a novel multi-physics, non-linear Contrast Source Petrophysical inversion method; and it will implement a distributed Alternating Direction of Multipliers Method (ADMM) for petrophysical inversion using Compressive Sensing. The aforementioned fundamental science will be validated in a new multi-physics testbed, which will be capable of characterizing rocks and soil models as well as performing controlled dynamic imaging experiments. Finally, the experimentally validated models and imaging algorithms will be used for time-lapse monitoring in the aforementioned applications.

The proposed research will enhance the efficiency and reliability of subsurface exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, as well as the monitoring of the anthropogenic deposition of CO2 underground. The fundamental science in this proposal will allow one to understand the interaction of physical fields with fluid-filled porous media at different temporal and spatial scales. Finally, it will establish the basis for real-time, distributed monitoring of underground processes, which can be simulated on new evolving petascale computing platforms.