Energy Resources Geomechanics Laboratory

Innovative Energy Research Center

Energy Resources Geomechanics Laboratory

Professor
Takatoshi
Ito
Assistant Professor
Yusuke
Mukuhira

We investigate smart methodologies to know and control large scale fluid flow in subsurface at few km deep, and we apply the methodologies to solve the problems on earth environment and energy. Our works are currently focusing on (i) CO2 geological storage as a means of climate change mitigation, (ii) geothermal energy which is renewable and abundant in Japan, and (iii) methane hydrate seated below deep sea floor, which is expected to be a next-generation energy resource to replace oil and natural gas.

Seepage Prevention and Remediation for CO2 Geological Storage

For trapping to inhibit the upward migration of CO2, the reservoirs should be covered with a sufficiently impermeable seal, i.e. caprock. However, the caprock may contain imperfections such as faults and fractures which will be a pathway for leakage of the injected CO2 from the reservoirs. We study an innovative concept to reduce the permeability along potential such leakage paths.

Detection of Subsurface Flow Pathway Structure from Induced Micro-Seismicity

If we have a technique to detect fluid flow through subsurface fractures at few km depth, it will improve drastically the procedure to design and control the Enhanced Geothermal System. We develop a new technique to realize that idea with the aid of microseismic events observed during hydraulic stimulation which is carried out to maintain and create the flow pathways.

Study of Hydraulic Fracturing in Unconsolidated Formation
for Oil and Methane Hydrate Development

The technique of hydraulic fracturing has been originally developed assuming cohesive rocks. On the other hand, recent trends of petroleum industry is directed toward unconventional resources such as heavy oil and methane hydrate in weakly-consolidated to unconsolidated sands. Thus we examine experimentally and theoretically the hydraulic fracturing behavior in unconsolidated sands.

Energy Resources Geomechanics Laboratory