Vertically integrated dual-continuum models for CO2 injection in fractured geological formations

Yiheng Tao, Bo Guo, Karl W. Bandilla, Michael Anthony Celia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Various modeling approaches, including fully three-dimensional (3D) models and vertical-equilibrium (VE) models, have been used to study the large-scale storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep saline aquifers. 3D models solve the governing flow equations in three spatial dimensions to simulate migration of CO2 and brine in the geological formation. VE models assume rapid and complete buoyant segregation of the two fluid phases, resulting in vertical pressure equilibrium and allowing closed-form integration of the governing equations in the vertical dimension. This reduction in dimensionality makes VE models computationally much more efficient, but the associated assumptions restrict the applicability of VE models to geological formations with moderate to high permeability. In the present work, we extend the VE models to simulate CO2 storage in fractured deep saline aquifers in the context of dual-continuum modeling, where fractures and rock matrix are treated as porous media continua with different permeability and porosity. The high permeability of fractures makes the VE model appropriate for the fracture domain, thereby leading to a VE dual-continuum model for the dual continua. The transfer of fluid mass between fractures and rock matrix is represented by a mass transfer function connecting the two continua, with a modified transfer function for the VE model based on vertical integration. Comparison of the new model with a 3D dual-continuum model shows that the new model provides comparable numerical results while being much more computationally efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalComputational Geosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


  • Dual-continuum models
  • Fractured rock
  • Geologic CO storage
  • Multi-scale modeling
  • Vertically integrated models


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