Robert Walsh, Ph.D., P.Eng., Numerical Modeller

  • Ph.D., Applied Geology, Eberhardt Karls Universitat, Tuebingen, Germany, 2007
  • M.Sc., Applied Environmental Geoscience, Eberhardt Karls Universitat, Tuebingen, Germany, 2003
  • B.Sc., Civil Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, 2001

Robert Walsh, a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario, specializes in numerical modelling of geosphere processes, with a particular interest in hydrogeology, (hydro)-mechanical processes, thermal transport, multiphase flow modelling and coupled processes.  Dr. Walsh has 14 years experience in the hydrogeological and geomechanical modelling field.  His work has included everything from characterization and development of a sourcewater protection model for a heavily pumped groundwater aquifer in an industrialized area of the upper Rhine valley, to development of a novel method to model hydromechanical coupling in fractured rock.

Dr. Walsh studied engineering at the University of Alberta and continued  with graduate studies in Germany.  He returned to Canada in 2007, and since that time has focused on solving the problem of safe disposal of radioactive waste, with an emphasis on the subsurface transport of soluble radionuclides, and the production and transport of gases in a waste repository setting.

He has taken the lead on a multi-year reactor fuel waste transport study involving three-dimensional transport of radionuclides, incorporating climate effects and hydro-mechanically coupled site glaciation over a 1 Ma performance period.  In order to predict long-term (1 Ma) facility performance he has performed detailed gas and groundwater modelling using TOUGH2 and FRAC3DVS as part of the safety assessment for NWMOs Deep Geological Repository (Bruce Site).  He has developed models for a 3D gas-transport in the LASGIT (Large Scale Gas Injection Test) experiment at the Aspo Hard Rock Laboratory in Sweden.  Using numerical models, he has studied gas and water transport in the excavation damaged zone (EDZ) in an argillaceous formation targeted for radioactive waste disposal, as part of a reactor waste containment study.  This study focused on time-dependent evolution of EDZ properties due to swelling and changing mechanical boundary conditions.

Another recent area of interest for Dr. Walsh is an assessment of maximum safe pressurization for gas storage operations in spent natural gas reservoirs.  As part of this work, both the 2-phase flow processes and mechanical stability of the system were examined.