Members of the Subsurface Hydrology Research Group
Professor Michael Celia
Professor Celia is the Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, and currently serves as the Director of the Program in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources. Professor Celia's areas of research include ground-water hydrology, multi-phase flow in porous media, numerical modeling, and subsurface energy systems with a focus on geological sequestration of carbon dioxide and on shale-gas systems. Ongoing projects include development of new simulation tools to model CO2 injection, migration, and possible leakage associated with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies; studies of multi-phase flow and transport in porous media with a focus on multi-scale models, including pore-scale models; and measurements and modeling for shale-gas systems with a focus on methane leakage, possible CO2 injection, and fate of fracking fluids. The CCS work is part of a large industry-funded multi-disciplinary effort at Princeton known as the Carbon Mitigation Initiative.
Professor Jan Nordbotten
Professor Nordbotten has a full time appointment at the University of Bergen (Norway) in the Department of Applied Mathematics. However, he is an active member of our group which he visits several times a year. Being the youngest PhD in Norway’s history makes him a very motivating person to work with. Prof. Nordbotten splits his time between Bergen, Princeton, visiting other schools and sailing the seas on his sail boat. In tune with the rest of the research group Prof. Jan’s research interest span the areas of flow in porous media; discretization methods; Ecohydrology and Image processing.
Researchers and Collaborators
Karl Bandilla, Ph.D.
Karl is currrently an Associate Research Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton. He received his PhD in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering from the University at Buffalo in 2009 on the topic of regional groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling. After finishing graduate school Karl was rewarded a National Research Council Research Associateship stationed at a US Environmental Protection Agency research laboratory in Athens, GA, where he worked on using semi-analytical methods to model pressure perturbations due to CO2 injection into deep saline aquifers. Karl is currently working on large-scale modeling of CO2 injection, migration, and leakage, with a focus on multi-scale modeling, model complexity, and a new project on flow of brine and CO2 in fractured rocks.
Florian Doster, Ph.D.
Florian received his PhD in Physics from Stuttgart University, Germany in 2011. During his PhD he investigated a new theory for two-phase flow in media, which aims to overcome the shortcomings of existing modelsby taking into account the different hydrodynamic properties of connected and non-connected fluid parts at laboratory scales. He then joined the Subsurface Hydrology Research Group at Princeton as a post-doctoral researcher, a position that was shared with the University of Bergen. From 2011-2014 he worked on models for two-phase flow with a focus on hysteresis and upscaling and applications to CO2 injection systems. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, see Florian at H-W.
Mary Kang, Ph.D.
Mary Kang received a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School in 2014 from Princeton University. Her PhD dissertation entitled "CO2, methane, and brine leakage through subsurface pathways: exploring modeling, measurement, and policy options" presents work on modeling two-phase leakage through faults and methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells. Her modeling work focused on analytical and numerical solutions that can be used in a multi-scale framework. Her work on methane emissions involved field measurements and policy analysis. Prior to arriving at Princeton, she received a B.A.Sc. and a M.A.Sc. at the University of Waterloo in Civil and Environmental Engineering and was employed at HydroGeoLogic, Inc., an environmental engineering consulting firm based out of Reston, VA. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford University. Her current webpage can be found here: Mary at Stanford.
Juan Nogues, Ph.D.
Juan Nogues received a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School in 2012 from Princeton University. His PhD focused on studying the evolution of permeability. Juan is currently the Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences at the Universidad Paraguayo Alemana in his native Paraguay. He currently works in applications of groundwater modelling, design of monitoring networks and public policy design for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation in Paraguay. He collaborates with the Subsurface Hydrology group in Princeton by applying semi-analytical models to study the risk of CO2 leakage through old abandoned wells.
Ryan Edwards, Ph.D. Candidate
Ryan completed his Masters of Science in Engineering (MSE) degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Enginering at Princeton in May 2014 and he then joined the PhD program. Ryan has two main areas of research focus. The first is modeling CO2 injection into depleted shale gas reservoirs, with a focus on evaluating the efficacy of the approach. His second research track is investigating the fate of hydraulic fracturing fluid in shale gas formations through two-phase numerical modeling. Ryan is a member of the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) and he is also a Princeton Environmental Institute Science, Technology and Energy Policy (PEI-STEP) fellow with the Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to joining the SHRG at Princeton, Ryan completed a B.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and B.Sc. majoring in Geology at the University of Adelaide and worked as a hydrogeologist and water engineer in the mining and natural resource management industries in Australia.
Bo Guo, Ph.D. Candidate
Bo is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He joined the PhD program right after he received B.S. (with honor) in Hydraulic Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2011. Bo's PhD research focuses on developing efficient computational tools for engineering applications that involve fluid migration in the deep geological formations. Motivated by the engineering application of geological CO2 sequestration, Bo has developed a family of new vertically-integrated models with a novel dynamic reconstruction algorithm that solves the vertical dimension as a one dimensional problem. Being able to capture the vertical dynamics of CO2 and brine, while still maintaining a low level of computational cost, these models are very attractive tools for studies of large-scale geological CO2 sequestration. As a follow-up, part of Bo's current research focus is to couple both conventional and new vertically-integrated models together with full multi-dimensional models. The goal is to develop an adaptive hybrid model for computational simulation of underground energy (e.g. methane or hydrogen) storage, which has been considered as a promising solution for the intermittency of renewables in Germany. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Rainer Helmig's group at University of Stuttgart. To find out more about Bo's work, please see his webpage here: Bo's Webpage.
Xinwo Huang, Ph.D. Candidate
Xinwo is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has a general interest in energy and environmental studies. His early research focused on modeling large-scale geological carbon sequestration using a range of computational models with varying levels of complexity, from single-phase semi-analytic solutions to multi-phase numerical simulators. He used the Basal Aquifer of Canada as a test case, and showed that relatively simple models are appropriate for large-scale analysis of these systems. He is now working on pore-scale models for shale-gas systems, developing models that include two-phase flow, mixed wettability, fluid compressibility, sorption and slip flow. Xinwo is also a Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) fellow within the Woodrow Wilson School. His STEP project focuses on shale gas, synthetic natural gas, CCS and solar desalination coexistence in areas with high water stress. Before joining Princeton, Xinwo received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2015, Xinwo has been named as a lifelong Siebel Scholar in Energy Science based on academic excellence and demonstrated leadership.
Yiheng Tao, MSE Candidate
Yiheng Tao is a first-year Master's student at Princeton University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). His research interests lie in the fields of climate change mitigation, renewable energy, and environmental fluid mechanics. Specifically, Yiheng is interested in studying geologic carbon sequestration as an option to slow down anthropogenic CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, a process that causes global warming. Currently, Yiheng participates in a group project that aims to develop vertically integrated models for CO2 migration in fractured rocks. This project requires the studies of multiphase flow and numerical methods and the practice of computer programming. The result of this project can be used to more accurately assess the feasibility of storing gigatons of carbon dioxide in geological formations such as deep saline aquifers. Yiheng graduated with Honors from University of California, Berkeley in 2015, with Bachelor's Degrees in both CEE and Economics. With his Economics background, Yiheng looks at how CO2 emission can be controlled using policy tools such as "cap-and-trade" system. Yiheng also received training in Investments, Accounting, and Corporate Finance.
Pengwei Zhang, Visiting Ph.D. Student
Pengwei is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University in Beijing. He joined the subsurface hydrology research group as a visiting Ph.D. student in September 2015 and will stay in Princeton for one year. He has a broad interest in pore-scale fluid flow in geo-materials, which relates to the soil remediation, CO2 sequestration and shale gas exploitation fields. His early research focused on establishing an anisotropic pore-network model to simulate gas flow in nano-scale shale matrix. He also proposed a multi-flow regimes model to explain dynamic variations during shale gas exploitation. He is now focusing on developing a pore-scale simulator to model fluid movement in mixed-wet shale formations, with applications to shale-gas production and CO2 storage in shales. Multi-components gas transport is also included in his project. This is relevant to both hydrocarbon production and carbon-capture-and-storage technologies.
Beatrix Becker, Visiting Ph.D. Student
Beatrix is a visiting PhD student from Stuttgart University, Germany. She completed a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering at the Stuttgart University in April 2014. Her research focuses on studying mechanical, chemical and thermal underground energy storage. To improve understanding of the complex and coupled processes and enable planning and risk assessment of underground energy storage, efficient, consistent and adequate numerical models for multi-phase flow, component and energy transport are required. For this purpose, the group in Stuttgart develops an integrated grid-adaptive multi-scale multi-physics model that will facilitate simulations of large-scale problems efficiently without losing the relevant accuracy. Within this project Beatrix currently works on the coupling of vertically integrated models to a full-dimensional model in collaboration with Bo Guo and Professor Celia. Future work will involve the inclusion of hysteresis and a Multiphysics approach in the model.
EJ Baik, Undergraduate Class of 2016
EJ is a senior in the Civil and Engineering Department at Princeton University. She is interested in energy technology, such as carbon capture and storage, to establish a lower carbon future using mathematical and computational modeling methods. She first joined the subsurface hydrology research group during her sophomore summer, when she worked on methane leakage from abandoned oil and gas wells. During her junior year, she conducted an independent project on determining the effective permeability of the measured abandoned wells. Currently, EJ is working on her senior thesis which focuses on enhanced methane recovery from CO2 injection in shale gas wells. She is planning to continue her research through graduate studies.
Shanna Christian, Undergraduate Class of 2016
Shanna is a senior in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. She is interested in methane migration through abandoned oil and gas wells. She joined the subsurface hydrology research group during her junior spring, when she conducted an an independent project on the correlation between methane emissions of abandoned oil and gas wells and distance from unconventional wells. Shanna conducted research during her junior summer using geospatial analysis to determine attributes of the abandoned oil and gas wells the group has measured in Pennsylvania. She will continue with this work in her senior thesis to determine how these attributes influence the effective permeability of the measured abandoned wells and conduct a plugging cost analysis.