Predicting the fate of CO2 in geological reservoirs for modelling geological carbon storage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Earth Sciences

Abstract

The main objective of this proposal is to determining the nature and kinetics of fluid-rock interactions between CO2-rich brines and rocks, in field settings as well as in laboratory experiments, in order to formulate and test models of the behaviour and fate of CO2 injected in geological strata. To do this we need to determine the processes which moderate the fluid-mineral reaction kinetics, particularly the nature of the processes which result in much more sluggish kinetics in field settings compared with the predictions from laboratory experiments. The ultimate objective is to creat a database and methodology that enables the results of this study to be used in risk assessments and performance modelling of geological carbon storage sites. To achieve these main objectives we will need to carry out the following: 1) Evaluate natural (CO2 natural gas reservoirs) and anthropogenic (CO2 injection EOR - Enhanced Oil Recovery) sites as analogues for geological CO2 storage. As necessary, determine the hydrology and the nature of the CO2-fluid to reservoir brine interactions in these sites and characterise the reservoir mineralogy, mineral characteristics that might control reaction rates (e.g. mineral surface areas and topologies) and fluid-mineral reactions by using a range of mineralogical, geochemical and isotopic analytical techniques. 2) Carry out laboratory experiments on reservoir materials, cap rocks and single minerals to investigate mineral-fluid reactions and reaction kinetics under controlled conditions and to test the reactions and reaction kinetics inferred from the field-scale studies. 3) Perform laboratory experiments to make detailed measurements of noble gas solubility in, and partitioning between, supercritical and liquid CO2 and brine and extend the data available for the natural analogues to include high precision noble-gas isotopic and concentration data. This data will inform modelling of the hydrology of the naturalCO2 reservoirs. 4) Utilise existing and develop improved thermodynamic modelling of both equilibrium and kinetically-rate limited mineral-fluid reactions to a) relate the results of field-based and laboratory experiments, b) enable more general application of the results from this and other studies to specific field sites and c) use the laboratory and field results to test the applicability of widely used thermodynamic models for mineral reaction rates.
 
Description Geological carbon storage will be made more safe by the fluid-mineral reactions that 1) rapidly increase the pH of carbonated waters making them less reactive, 2) rapidly deposit significant carbonate especially if fluids migrate upwards through porous caprocks or faults and 3) act to precipitate metals mobilised by CO2 injection or escape into potable aquifers. 4) caprock that has been exposed to a natural CO2-charged aquifer for ~ 100,000 years has been sampled and shows that the chemical reaction front has only progressed 7 cm in that time. 5) Sampling of a EOR CO2 injection phase has shown that fluid-silicate reactions are significant even over the the six-month period of sampling and fluid geochemistry can be used to put important constraints on reservoir heterogeneity which increases the rate of CO2 dissolution in brine.
Exploitation Route The information will be and is being used by Industry. This information will be used directly by the large companies involved in carbon capture storage who are aware of the research through scientific publications, presentations at conferences and industrial liason meetings held in our University Department
Sectors Education,Energy,Environment

URL http://www.esc.cam.ac.uk/directory/michael-bickle
 
Description Use by Industrial company Research at Green River led Shell to fund a $600 k drillhole to sample reservoir fluids and caprock and led to a joint Shell-Cambridge-BGS-Manchester (Oxford) research grant from DECC to exploit this work. The research has demonstrated that reactions between CO2-charged fluids and caprocks are so sluggish that they do not pose a risk to geological carbon storage.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Radioactive waste National Geological Review Panel
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Science Advisory Group for NERC's Energy Security and Innovation Observing System for the Subsurface Project
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/energy/esios/home.html
 
Description Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing: The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Provided science and environmental case for extraction of shale gas
 
Description DECC CCS Innovation Programme £20 million Competition Call
Amount £735,533 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Department Depression Case Control Study (DeCC)
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2012 
End 03/2015
 
Description technology development roadmap
Amount $981,000 (AUD)
Organisation BHP Billiton 
Sector Private
Country Australia, Commonwealth of
Start 03/2017 
End 02/2020
 
Description Green river Scientific Drilling 
Organisation Shell Global Solutions International BV
Country Netherlands, Kingdom of the 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided scientific knowledge to enable planning of project
Collaborator Contribution Provided funding and knowhow to carry out drilling
Impact See publications
Start Year 2011
 
Description Quantifying CO2 trapping mechanisms and capacity in open saline aquifers - the role of reservoir heterogeneity 
Organisation BHP Billiton
Country Australia, Commonwealth of 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution research
Collaborator Contribution research collaboration
Impact none
Start Year 2017
 
Description Quantifying CO2 trapping mechanisms and capacity in open saline aquifers - the role of reservoir heterogeneity 
Organisation Stanford University
Department Department of Psychology
Country United States of America 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution research
Collaborator Contribution research collaboration
Impact none
Start Year 2017
 
Description Quantifying CO2 trapping mechanisms and capacity in open saline aquifers - the role of reservoir heterogeneity 
Organisation University of Melbourne
Department School of Social and Political Sciences
Country Australia, Commonwealth of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution research
Collaborator Contribution research collaboration
Impact none
Start Year 2017
 
Title CO2 solubility model 
Description Webtool at http://baobab.istep.upmc.fr/ calculates CO2 solubility in fluids with a range of salinities over conditions which will be used for geological carbon storage. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Only released in June 2015 
URL http://baobab.istep.upmc.fr/
 
Description Min Soc Am short course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented research and paper on geological carbon storage at Short Course organised by the Mineralogical Society of America at Berkley, California.

Discussed further research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013