September 23, 2021 9:50 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CEST

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COMSOL Day: Environmental Engineering

See what is possible with multiphysics simulation

Environmental engineering is a fast-growing field with increasingly ambitious goals toward sustainability. High-fidelity mathematical modeling and easy-to-use simulation apps are essential to tackle the challenges that we face.

COMSOL Day: Environmental Engineering will bring invited expert speakers to share their innovations and experiences using COMSOL Multiphysics®. Furthermore, COMSOL technical staff will host sessions to teach you how to use modeling and simulation apps to reach your goals as an environmental engineer. Topics covered will include geophysics, geothermal heating, shallow water applications, nuclear storage, subsurface flows, and more.

View the program below and register for free today!


9:50 a.m.

Please join us before the first presentation starts to settle in and make sure that your audio and visual capabilities are working.

10:00 a.m.

To start, we will briefly discuss the format of the day and go over the logistics for using GoToWebinar.

10:15 a.m.

Environmental engineers and scientists have to meet progressively higher demands to ensure our planet's sustainability. Real-world problems, like finding sustainable energy solutions, require high-fidelity simulation that includes a multiphysics approach. During this session, we will discuss the latest trends in modeling various aspects of environmental engineering. You will also learn how simulation practitioners are making their high-fidelity models available as easy-to-use applications for colleagues and customers.

10:45 a.m.
11:00 a.m.

Andres Idiart, Amphos 21

Modeling and simulation of complex engineering and geological systems constitute essential tools in many environmental engineering fields. From gas storage (CO2, hydrogen, and natural gas) to mining and geological disposal of radioactive waste, multiphysics modeling is needed for system understanding and as a predictive tool. In the last decade, COMSOL Multiphysics® has been at the center of the modeling solutions that Amphos 21 provides. In this presentation, an overview of its application to real engineering and geoscientific systems will be given, involving geomechanics, subsurface flow, multiphase flow, heat transfer, and geochemistry.

11:20 a.m.
11:30 a.m.

Ekkehard Holzbecher, GUtech

Environmental problems in a narrow sense are often restricted to the distribution and fate of contaminants or pollutants. In fact, this can be termed as a classical problem of environmental issues. In this contribution, I am dealing with models that address this type of problem. More generally, this includes cases with excess of nutrients or other chemical or biological species that relate to favorable or unfavorable states of the environment. It turns out that dealing with problems of constituents within an environmental system leads to studying coupled flow and transport, which is reflected in modeling. In my contribution, I outline different options for flow and transport models. Using COMSOL Multiphysics®, there are various options concerning flow: porous or fractured media or free fluids; saturated or unsaturated; and pipe flow, shallow, or deep water. There are several options concerning solute transport within the various flow systems. In contaminant studies, degradation is a crucial process to be considered. I show cases of combined stationary flow with unsteady transport (a very common link!) and of one-way and two-way coupling between the two physics modes. COMSOL Multiphysics® offers a variety of options to deal with different types of flow and transport constellations.

11:50 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
Break for Lunch
1:00 p.m.

Geothermal energy is a practically infinite resource, and the effective use of geothermal energy continues to accelerate worldwide. Simulation models help to estimate the potential of existing reservoirs and improve extraction technologies for the most efficient use of this sustainable form of energy production. This usually involves dealing with large variations in the scales of the model geometries and in the time scales on which the processes occur. In addition, material properties may need to be included to capture real-world phenomena. In this session, you will get an overview of the modeling techniques and features provided in COMSOL Multiphysics® for modeling shallow and deep geothermal processes and systems.

1:30 p.m.
1:45 p.m.

Cas Berentsen, Fenix Consulting Delft

The Bergermeer reservoir is one of the largest gas storages in Western Europe, with excellent reservoir properties. However, during original depletion (1972–2007), seismicity was observed with magnitudes up to 3.5. Therefore, it was deemed prudent to monitor the gas storage reservoir with a permanent, downhole microseismic array. The array observed 400 microseismic events with a magnitude below 0.9 during refill (2009–2014) of the reservoir and subsequent storage activities (2014–present). This activity is far below the threshold for felt earthquakes. Most activity was induced by the midfield fault that also induced depletion seismicity.

A geomechanical model was constructed to model the observed seismicity and free-surface heave and make forecast predictions for future storage cycles. The geometry was obtained from the seismic interpretations using a method to convert the faults and horizons to parametric surfaces that were used in a COMSOL Multiphysics® FEM model. The model was populated with leakoff tests, minifrac, core, and log data. The model was calibrated on observed depletion and refill seismicity, stress measurements, and the observed surface displacement from geodetic and GPS surveys. The continuous records of surface displacements showed a much stiffer reservoir during refill, compared with depletion. Also, the response was delayed by 0.25 year with respect to pressure, indicating time dependence in the rock deformation. Fault slip during depletion and stress hysteresis explains the refill microseismicity, since the shear stress is redistributed during slippage, giving higher shear stress at the edges of the slip area. The model predicts higher seismic activity for higher injection rates, but the maximum magnitude is limited in the worst case to 2.2, which is expected to cause no damage.

2:05 p.m.
2:15 p.m.

Analyzing tunnels, excavations, slope stability, and retaining structures requires nonlinear material models tailored for geotechnical applications. The Geomechanics Module, an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and COMSOL Multiphysics®, includes built-in material models for modeling deformation, plasticity, creep, and failure in soils, concrete, and rock. Moreover, the functionality of the Geomechanics Module can be combined with the Subsurface Flow Module to create real-world multiphysics simulations for porous media flow, poroelasticity, solute transport, and heat transfer. In this session, we will discuss the core functionality and modeling techniques included in the Geomechanics Module and show a multiphysics example of coupled porous media flow and soil mechanics.

2:45 p.m.
3:00 p.m.

Helger van Halewijn, Physixfactor

Vertical-axis water turbines can be used to generate electrical energy from water streams or tidal streams. The VAWT is normally equipped with fixed blades, but in order to have a self-starting rotor, the blades can be adjusted by a few degrees. During the rotation, the angle of attack is continuously changing and by introducing blades, which can be adjusted, the angle of attack can be optimized in COMSOL®. In order to run it in COMSOL®, an extra rotating frame has to be programmed and some results will be discussed with k-epsilon and k-omega turbulent models. Also, the amount of blades can be adjusted, from the standard three blades to four, five, or six blades. Some remarks will be made about the output of the data in polar diagrams and the automation of generating plots and tables by means of using methods.

3:20 p.m.
3:30 p.m.

Wave impact is an important engineering factor when designing and building structures in and around bodies of water. Whether from the scale of tsunamis to that of the normal ebb and flow of tides, predicting the forces of waves acting on objects can be crucial. An expeditious strategy for simulating such is to make use of the so-called shallow water equations.

These equations model the flow of a free surface in a fluid under the assumption that the horizontal scale is much greater than the vertical length scale. They are frequently used for modeling both oceanographic and atmospheric fluid flow. Models of such systems can be used to predict areas affected by pollution, coastal erosion, and polar ice cap melting. In this session, we will show some example models that use the shallow water equations, as well as how to model them using COMSOL Multiphysics®.

4:00 p.m.
4:15 p.m.

The Subsurface Flow Module extends COMSOL Multiphysics® to the quantitative investigation of geophysical and environmental phenomena. It features a number of physics interfaces to model flow behavior in saturated and variably saturated porous media and to link flow and other physics phenomena in subterranean environments. It can be used for a variety of geotechnical applications such as groundwater flow, the spread of waste and pollution through soil, the flow of oil and gas to wells, and land subsidence due to groundwater extraction. In this session, we will discuss core functionalities and modeling techniques provided by the Subsurface Flow Module and show some examples of porous media flow including multiphysics applications.

4:45 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Invited Speakers

Andrés Idiart
Amphos 21
Andrés Idiart is a civil engineer with a PhD in solid and fracture mechanics from UPC – Barcelona Tech and currently works as a team leader at Amphos 21. His activities include, among others, the simulation of multiphysics problems in geosciences, where he has more than 10 years of professional experience.
Ekkehard Holzbecher
Ekkehard Holzbecher holds academic degrees in mathematics (diploma at University of Cologne), civil engineering (doctorate at Techn. Univ. Berlin), and hydrogeology (habilitation at Freie Univ. Berlin). For more than three decades, he has worked in various university and research institutions, mainly on water-related environmental problems, particularly concerning groundwater. Abroad, he has taken research positions at Kyoto University, Japan, and Beer-Sheba University, Israel. Since 2014, he has been affiliated with the German University of Technology in Muscat, Oman (GUtech), where he holds the position of full professor. He is the author of several textbooks published by Springer Publication. His monograph, ‘Environmental Modeling’, appeared hitherto in 2 editions.
Cas Berentsen
Fenix Consulting Delft
Cas Berentsen received an MSc degree in applied mathematics at the University of Twente and a PhD degree in reservoir engineering at Delft University of Technology. This was followed by post doc positions in the Environmental Hydrogeology group at Utrecht University and assistant professorship in reservoir engineering at Delft University of Technology. During these years, he mainly focused on fundamental aspects of miscible and immiscible fluid flow in porous media. In 2012, he joined Fenix Consulting Delft, where he has been involved in multiple studies on waterflood-induced fracturing in hydrocarbon reservoirs and geothermal applications, seismic risk analysis for gas storage and gas production, and flow stimulation in hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Helger van Halewijn
Helger van Halewijn owns the company Physixfactor in the Netherlands. He was educated at the University of Utrecht in physics and worked for about 15 years in R&D departments of different companies developing high-tech diamond products for industrial and scientific use. Physixfactor was established in 2005 and is a consulting company for finite element analysis using {:comsol} for multiphysics projects in the chip, automotive, and OLED industries.

COMSOL Speakers

Ruud Börger
Deputy Managing Director, Benelux
Frank de Pont
Technical Manager
Phillip Oberdorfer
Technical Marketing Manager
Ed Gonzalez
Technology Manager
Andy Cai
Senior Applications Engineer

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September 23, 2021 | 9:50 a.m. CEST (UTC+02:00)
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