• Peer-Reviewed
Transport in Porous Media · 2005

Stability of a fluid in a horizontal saturated porous layer: effect of non-linear concentration profile, initial, and boundary conditions

H. Hassanzadeh, M. Pooladi-Darvish, and D. W. Keith

Carbon dioxide injected into saline aquifers dissolves in the resident brines increasing their density, which might lead to convective mixing. Understanding the factors that drive convection in aquifers is important for assessing geological CO₂ storage sites. A hydrodynamic stability analysis is performed for non-linear, transient concentration fields in a saturated, homogenous, porous medium under various boundary conditions. The onset of convection is predicted using linear stability analysis based on the amplification of the initial perturbations. The difficulty with such stability analysis is the choice of the initial conditions used to define the imposed perturbations. We use different noises to find the fastest growing noise as initial conditions for the stability analysis. The stability equations are solved using a Galerkin technique. The resulting coupled ordinary differential equations are integrated numerically using a fourth-order Runge–Kutta method. The upper and lower bounds of convection instabilities are obtained. We find that at high Rayleigh numbers, based on the fastest growing noise for all boundary conditions, both the instability time and the initial wavelength of the convective instabilities are independent of the porous layer thickness. The current analysis provides approximations that help in screening suitable candidates for homogenous geological CO₂ sequestration sites.

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