Improving Image-Based Characterization of Porous Media with Deep Generative Models (Papers Track)

Timothy Anderson (Stanford University); Kelly Guan (Stanford University); Bolivia Vega (Stanford University); Laura Froute (Stanford University); Anthony Kovscek (Stanford University)

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Micro- and nanoscale imaging are important for characterizing subsurface formations for carbon sequestration, shale gas recovery, and hydrogen storage. Common imaging techniques, however, are often sample-destructive, expensive, require high levels of expertise, or only acquire planar data. The resulting image datasets therefore may not allow for a representative estimation of rock properties. In this work, we address these challenges in image-based characterization of porous media using deep generative models. We present a machine learning workflow for characterizing porous media from limited imaging data. We develop methods for 3D image volume translation and synthesis from 2D training data, apply this method to grayscale and multimodal image datasets of sandstones and shales, and simulate flow through the generated volumes. Results show that the proposed image reconstruction and generation approaches produce realistic pore-scale 3D representations of rock samples using only 2D training data. The models proposed here expand our capabilities for characterization of rock samples and enable new understanding of pore-scale storage and recovery processes.