Microfluidics for Energy Applications
Using microfluidics techniques combined with optical diagnosis, we aim at exploring multiphase flow dynamics at various scales in energy and environmental-related applications. Two specific examples are
a 1) CO2 diffusivity measurements into water
2) Visualization of three phase flow (CO2-water-solid precipitation) in porous media
Measurements of accurate CO2 diffusivity to water are important to predict CO2 storage capacity as well as to secure safe/permanent storage strategies into geological saline formations. Images below are representatives of experimental setups and corresponding results.
<CO2 diffusion to brine>
Solid precipitations during CO2 injection in saline aquifers, porous geological formations filled with brine and several minerals, located 1-3 km underground, cause serious problems such as the increase of injection cost, the decrease of overall injectivity, and artificial earthquakes due to high pressure operations. Proper understanding of CO2 injection processes into porous media will help to resolve these hard questions. The video and images below are example experimental results including the chip fabrication procedure.
<CO2 injection to porous media>