Modeling of coupled flow, transport and biogeochemical reactions during electrokinetic bioremediation: model development and application

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    Abstract

    Electrokinetic (EK) remediation is one of the few in-situ remediation technologies that can effectively remove contaminants from low-permeability porous media. Process-based modeling, including the complex multiphysics and biogeochemical processes occurring during electrokinetic remediation, is instrumental to describe EK systems and to assist in their design. In this work we use NP-Phreeqc-EK [1], a multidimensional, multiphysics code which couples a flow and transport simulator (COMSOL Multiphysics) with a geochemical code (PhreeqcRM) through a MATLAB LiveLink interface. The model allows the simulation of coupled fluid flow, solute transport, charge interactions and biogeochemical reactions during electrokinetics in saturated porous media. The process-based code is applied for the modeling of electrokinetic delivery of amendments to enhance bioremediation (EK-Bio) of chlorinated compounds at a pilot test site [2]. We simulate both conservative and reactive transport scenarios and we compute and show the Nernst-Planck fluxes and the velocities of the different species (such as lactate, chlorinated ethenes and degrading microorganisms). To compare remediation performances and model outcomes we define different metrics quantifying the spatial distribution of the delivered reactants and the mass of the organic contaminants in the system. The process-based model allowed the simulation of the key processes occurring during EK-Bio, including 1) multidimensional electrokinetic transport such as electromigration of charged species and electroosmosis, 2) Coulombic interactions between ions in solution, 3) kinetics of contaminant biodegradation, 4) dynamics of microbial populations, 5) mass transfer limitations and 6) geochemical reactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2021
    Number of pages1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    EventThe European Geosciences Union General Assembly: Gather Online - Online event
    Duration: 19 Apr 202130 Apr 2021

    Conference

    ConferenceThe European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    LocationOnline event
    Period19/04/202130/04/2021

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