84515 - Environmental Management of Subsurface fluids

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Nowadays the risks and problems associated with the management of underground fluids are in the limelight of the media. Conventional and unconventional fossil fuels that require production techniques based on the injection of fluids into the subsoil with associated risks of induced seismicity, contamination of aquifers, subsidence and collapse phenomena. The risks of fracking. The injection of polluted fluids into deep repositories, the summer storage of gases in exhausted reservoir rocks, the injection of CO2 into the subsoil to counteract the greenhouse effect, the use of geothermal fluids and the exploitation of deep aquifers; what impact do all these activities have on environmental safety? This course aims to provide students with tools that are necessary to assess the risks associated with the activities listed above.

Course contents

Basic notions on the mechanics of fluids and porous and fractured media.

Fundamentals of numerical analysis for fluid flow modeling.

Extraction and injection of fluids through wells.

Notes on geology and the production of conventional and unconventional fossil fuels.

Notes on the origin and exploration of geothermal fluids.

Notes on the origin and exploration of clathrates in the oceans.

Management of artificial recharge in aquifers.

CO2 storage: reasons, challenges and different types of pilot plants.

Injection of contaminated fluids into deep aquifers.

Summer storage of gas in depleted fields.

Risk analysis in the production of fluids from deep reservoirs / aquifers (subsidence, pollution).

Risk analysis in the injection of fluids in deep reservoirs / aquifers (induced seismicity, pollution of aquifers).

Risk management and reduction techniques.

Numerical modeling exercises Injection and extraction model from porous and fractured tanks.

Fracking pattern.

Ground water injection model to recharge an aquifer.


Class notes and presentations by the teacher

Philips O.M. 2009. Geological fluid dynamics. Cambridge University Press

Reference textbooks:

1) Handbook of Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Volume One


2) Handbook of Environmental Fluid Dynamics, Volume Two


disponibili online

Teaching methods

Lectures and class exercises that require the use of a laptop. Some exercises will be done with MATLAB and Excel. Preparatory to the course is the class in Environmental Hydrology.

Assessment methods

50% of the grade: exercises and projects proposed during the lessons.

50% of the grade: power point presentation of a topic agreed with the teacher.

Teaching tools

A personal computer is required for classroom activities.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Antonellini