Public lecture: Stephan Matthai

Simulation-guided engineering of fluids in the complex subsurface

Presented by Professor Stephan Matthäi, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

Refreshments: 5.30–6.00pm
Lecture: 6.00–7.00pm

The Lecture

Already a world leader in mineral exploration and mining, Australia is increasingly extracting unconventional hydrocarbon resources including coal seam gas. To offset greenhouse gas emissions, Australia simultaneously fosters research and field demonstration projects on carbon geo-sequestration. These combined developments imply future subsurface engineering activities on an unprecedented scale. Yet their environmental impact and sustainability already are focal point of public debate.

In this lecture, Professor Matthäi will examine how computer-simulation based analysis and insights from complex systems science can help to assess the performance and environmental impact of subsurface engineering projects so that potential side effects can be eliminated prior to project implementation. More physical realism and a different approach to simulation are prerequisites for achieving this objective, as will be illustrated with hydrocarbon recovery from structurally challenging reservoirs and carbon dioxide injection management.

The Speaker

Stephan Matthäi is Professor of Civil Engineering, Chair of Reservoir Engineering and Assistant Dean for Commercialisaton in the Melbourne School of Engineering. As a member of the Peter Cook Centre for CCS, he works on CO2 geo-sequestration and is internationally recognised for his research on subsurface fluid-flow and transport with applications to hydrocarbon extraction, gas storage, geothermal / hydrothermal systems, and nuclear waste repository safety. In these contexts he acts as government advisor, serves professional societies and consults to industry. He is the originator of the CSMP++ software library — an important vehicle of international R&D collaborations on complex subsurface systems.

Before coming to Australia, Matthäi was Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Austria, and Governor’s lecturer of Computational Hydrodynamics at Imperial College London, where he led an oil industry consortium on the “Improved Simulation of Fractured and Faulted Reservoirs” and designed and implemented a new MSc degree “Computational Geoscience.” Matthäi received his PhD from the ANU, Canberra.