Water Tunnel Facility

Agency/Department

FLC Region

Security Lab

No

Address

626 Cochrans Mill Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
United States

Description

NETL’s High-Pressure Water Tunnel Facility in Pittsburgh, PA, re-creates the conditions found 3,000 meters beneath the ocean’s surface, allowing scientists to study the chemistry, physics, and hydrodynamics of gas bubbles, liquid drops, and solid particles deep underwater. The lab was once used to investigate the fate of carbon dioxide released either intentionally or inadvertently in the ocean as a result of carbon sequestration activities. Now researchers use the lab to study the release of fluids from subsea hydrocarbon reservoirs. In this way, researchers can learn about offshore well accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well blowout in 2010. What sets the lab apart from similar facilities is that scientists can use a vertical countercurrent flow of water or seawater to keep an object (for instance, a bubble of methane) stabilized behind an observation window. The advanced video capabilities available at the lab give scientists incredibly detailed information about how an object of interest reacts in a deep-water environment.
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