Modelling multiphase flow of immiscible fluids in highly permeable porous media for soil remediation

Category: 
ARD 2020-PIVOTS
Deadline: 
08/11/2020

Research Project

Modelling multiphase flow of immiscible fluids in highly permeable porous media for soil remediation 

Research Field

Flow and transport in porous media

CONTEXT

In the framework of the PIVOTS (Environmental Technology Innovation, Development and Optimisation Platforms project) Programme financed by the Centre-Val de Loire Région (France), LE STUDIUM Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies is recruiting an experienced scientist.

The PIVOTS Programme is a coordinated set of seven experimental and analytical platforms focusing on environmental quality monitoring and sustainable management of natural resources (soil, subsurface, surface water, groundwater, sediment, and air) within a context of global change.

Innovation in the area of the environment, ecotechnology, and eco-services is a major challenge for sustainable development in today’s societies. Innovations may arise from an integrated approach-based research involving academic and industrial experts together at all stages of the value chain, from fundamental research to the validation of products and services. The goal of the PIVOTS Programme is to contribute in this integration and to promote the emergence of an economic stream in the area of environmental metrology, remediation processes, and associated services.

The successful candidate will be invited for a one-year fellowship to work with a research team at BRGM (the French Geological Survey) and ISTO (Earth Science Institute of Orléans) on the PRIME and O-ZNS (https://plateformes-pivots.eu/?lang=en) platforms. As a LE STUDIUM Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies Research Fellow, s/he will be part of an outward-looking and stimulating pluri-disciplinary scientific and international community and will benefit from the dynamic scientific environment of the Centre-Val de Loire region.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CONTEXT

Sustainable and effective remediation of contaminants from the subsurface is one of the biggest challenges in current environmental issues. The vadose zone (VZ) is known to play a major role within the critical zone as a controlling agent in the transmission of water and contaminants from the land surface to groundwater. Since this zone involves numerous coupled physical phenomena, the interplay of these processes is difficult to understand especially from a remediation point of view.  In particular, the modelling of the migration of water-immiscible contaminants such as light non-aqueous liquids (LNAPL) in this zone is complex since it involves a three-phase system (water, LNAPL, and air). 

Despite advances in petroleum engineering, many challenges remain in the development and field implementation of such models. Indeed, many problems remain open on the modeling of the behavior of multiphase fluids in the field of polluted soils where, unlike the case encountered in petroleum engineering, the porous medium is often very permeable and unconsolidated. The traditional assumptions used for very low permeability medium are no longer necessarily valid. 

The objective of this study is then to develop models of mass transport and momentum for immiscible two (water/air and water/LNAPL) and three (water, LNAPL, and air) phase flows in porous media with high permeability. These models will have to go beyond the current paradigms and in particular the generalized Darcy formulation with relative permeabilities and capillary pressures depending only on the saturations of the different phases. Beyond the theoretical side and the corresponding numerical developments, one of the objectives is also to test and validate the models by comparing them with experimental measurements obtained in laboratory-scale (length scales of centimeters to meters). 

MISSION OF THE RESEARCH SCIENTIST

The successful candidate will have the following missions:

  • to strengthen the theoretical and modeling knowledge of the research team
  • to develop the Darcy-scale numerical models to study the multiphase flows in porous media
  • to use the simulation outcomes to help design and validate new experimental setup and protocol for the projects and identify missing measurements
  • to use the PRIME and O-ZNS platforms as a frame to conceptualize and validate the developed model against the experimental and observatory results
  • to carry out internationally outstanding research for the above-mentioned project
  • to disseminate this research through articles in journals of international standing, monographs and other appropriate forms of dissemination, including national and international conference presentations
  • to support, comply with, and fully contribute to research plans and policies of the PRIME and O-ZNS teams.

ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

LE STUDIUM Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies is looking to recruit a senior researcher profile with:

  • record of publications in international peer-reviewed journals and significant international networks;
  • ability to mobilize the literature and to build testable hypotheses;
  • research experience in the field of study, able to innovate and interact with diverse and multi-disciplinary teams and stakeholders including industry;
  • Experience in modeling flow and multiphase transport in porous media, NAPL fate and transport, complex fluid flow in porous media;
  • Experience in pore and Darcy scale numerical simulation including multiphase flow;
  • Ability to initiate new projects in the field of soil remediation and water resource protection;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to make clear and concise presentations and prepare compelling grant proposals.
  • Proven ability to control the whole research chain from the definition of the problem to the communication of results, both for academic, industrial R & D and non-academic audiences;
  • Experience and motivation for teamwork and the ability to establish fruitful scientific exchanges with researchers and actors of different technical and scientific cultures.

CONDITIONS OF ELIGIBILITY

The fellowship is intended to attract an experienced international researcher in possession of a doctoral degree and a minimum of five years of full-time research experience after PhD, preferably ten.

  • Applicant researchers must be national or long-term resident of a country other than France, i.e. having spent a period of full-time research activity of at least 5 consecutive years in a country other than France.
  • Applicant researchers must also comply with the following mobility rule: not having resided or carried out their main activity (work, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline of application.

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

The position is based in Orleans, France and offers 12 months of residency.

The successful candidate will be welcomed into the PIVOTS team network and LE STUDIUM faculty of international research fellows working in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Researchers will be provided with the necessary means of work (laboratory facilities, office, telephone, internet, access to databases, computer tools, etc.).

The scientific working languages are French and English.

Entitlements detailed in the French labor contract of employment include:

  • A personal salary.
  • Rental costs of a fully furnished apartment for the candidate and her/his family. Utilities (water, heating, electricity, tax) have to be paid by the fellow.
  • Affiliation to the French social security protection scheme and a contribution to a private medical protection scheme for all health costs complementing the French basic social security coverage.
  • Working hours, vacation and travelling expenses are bound by the same regulation as those effective for the personnel of the hosting laboratory.
  • Logistics and administrative assistance by a member of LE STUDIUM operational team before and during the fellowship (housing, bank, insurance, schooling…).

CONDITIONS OF APPLICATION

Online application via LE STUDIUM platform: Apply section

The deadline for application is 8th of November 2020. Applications will be reviewed as they come in.

The position is expected to be filled no later than 4th of January 2020.

The application shall consist of three elements:

  • A completed online LE STUDIUM application form with personal information and details of track records;
  • A curriculum vitae of maximum two pages including information not in the online application;
  • A motivation letter.