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Title: Injection and Monitoring at the Wallula Basalt Pilot Project

Continental flood basalts represent one of the largest geologic structures on earth but have received comparatively little attention for geologic storage of CO2. Flood basalt lava flows have flow tops that are porous, permeable, and have large potential capacity for storage of CO2. In appropriate geologic settings, interbedded sediment layers and dense low-permeability basalt rock flow interior sections may act as effective seals allowing time for mineralization reactions to occur. Previous laboratory experiments showed the relatively rapid chemical reaction of CO2-saturated pore water with basalts to form stable carbonate minerals. However, recent laboratory tests with water-saturated supercritical CO2 show that mineralization reactions occur in this phase as well, providing a second and potentially more important mineralization pathway than was previously understood. Field testing of these concepts is proceeding with drilling of the world’s first supercritical CO2 injection well in flood basalt being completed in May 2009 near the township of Wallula in Washington State and corresponding CO2 injection permit granted by the State of Washington in March 2011. Injection of a nominal 1000 MT of CO2 was completed in August 2013 and site monitoring is in progress. Well logging conducted immediately after injection termination confirmed the presence of CO2 predominantlymore » within the upper flow top region, and showed no evidence of vertical CO2 migration outside the well casing. Shallow soil gas samples collected around the injection well show no evidence of leakage and fluid and gas samples collected from the injection zone show strongly elevated concentrations of Ca, Mg, Mn, and Fe and 13C/18O isotopic shifts that are consistent with basalt-water chemical reactions. If proven viable by this field test and others that are in progress or being planned, major flood basalts in the U.S., India, and perhaps Australia would provide significant additional CO2 storage capacity and additional geologic sequestration options in regions of these countries where conventional storage options are limited.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102; AA7020000
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES Carbon sequestration; mineralization; field pilot; demonstration; Wallula