High-Performance Modeling of Carbon Dioxide Sequestration by Coupling Reservoir Simulation and Molecular Dynamics

Kai Bao, Mi Yan, Rebecca Allen, Amgad Salama, Ligang Lu, Kirk E. Jordan, Shuyu Sun, David E. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The present work describes a parallel computational framework for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration simulation by coupling reservoir simulation and molecular dynamics (MD) on massively parallel high-performance-computing (HPC) systems. In this framework, a parallel reservoir simulator, reservoir-simulation toolbox (RST), solves the flow and transport equations that describe the subsurface flow behavior, whereas the MD simulations are performed to provide the required physical parameters. Technologies from several different fields are used to make this novel coupled system work efficiently. One of the major applications of the framework is the modeling of large-scale CO2 sequestration for long-term storage in subsurface geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs and deep saline aquifers, which has been proposed as one of the few attractive and practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and address the global-warming threat. Fine grids and accurate prediction of the properties of fluid mixtures under geological conditions are essential for accurate simulations. In this work, CO2 sequestration is presented as a first example for coupling reservoir simulation and MD, although the framework can be extended naturally to the full multiphase multicomponent compositional flow simulation to handle more complicated physical processes in the future. Accuracy and scalability analysis are performed on an IBM BlueGene/P and on an IBM BlueGene/Q, the latest IBM supercomputer. Results show good accuracy of our MD simulations compared with published data, and good scalability is observed with the massively parallel HPC systems. The performance and capacity of the proposed framework are well-demonstrated with several experiments with hundreds of millions to one billion cells. To the best of our knowledge, the present work represents the first attempt to couple reservoir simulation and molecular simulation for large-scale modeling. Because of the complexity of subsurface systems, fluid thermodynamic properties over a broad range of temperature, pressure, and composition under different geological conditions are required, although the experimental results are limited. Although equations of state can reproduce the existing experimental data within certain ranges of conditions, their extrapolation out of the experimental data range is still limited. The present framework will definitely provide better flexibility and predictability compared with conventional methods.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)0853-0863
Number of pages11
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number03
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


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