Development of a reactive transport model for field-scale simulation of microbially induced carbonate precipitation

Minto, James M. and Lunn, Rebecca J. and El Mountassir, Gráinne (2019) Development of a reactive transport model for field-scale simulation of microbially induced carbonate precipitation. Water Resources Research, 55 (8). pp. 7229-7245. ISSN 0043-1397 (

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Microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) is a promising technique that could be used for soil stabilization, for permeability control in porous and fractured media, for sealing leaky hydrocarbon wells, and for immobilizing contaminants. Many further field trials are required before optimum treatment strategies can be established. These field trials will be costly and time consuming to \carry out and are currently a barrier to transitioning MICP from a lab-scale process to a practical field-scale deployable technology. To narrow down the range of potential treatment options into a manageable number, we present a field-scale reactive transport model of MICP that captures the key processes of bacteria transport and attachment, urea hydrolysis, tractable CaCO 3 precipitation, and modification to the porous media in terms of porosity and permeability. The model, named biogroutFoam, is implemented in OpenFOAM, and results are presented for MICP treatment in a planar fracture, three-dimensional sand media at pore scale, and at continuum scale for an array of nine injection/abstraction wells. Results indicate that it is necessary to model bacterial attachment, that bacterial attachment should be a function of fluid velocity, and that phased injection strategies may lead to the most uniform precipitation in a porous media.


Minto, James M. ORCID logoORCID:, Lunn, Rebecca J. ORCID logoORCID: and El Mountassir, Gráinne ORCID logoORCID:;