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Title: Experimental investigation of supercritical CO2 trapping mechanisms at the Intermediate Laboratory Scale in well-defined heterogeneous porous media

The heterogeneous nature of typical sedimentary formations can play a major role in the propagation of the CO2 plume, eventually dampening the accumulation of mobile phase underneath the caprock. From core flooding experiments, it is also known that contrasts in capillary threshold pressure due to different pore size can affect the flow paths of the invading and displaced fluids and consequently influence the build- up of non-wetting phase (NWP) at interfaces between geological facies. The full characterization of the geologic variability at all relevant scales and the ability to make observations on the spatial and temporal distribution of the migration and trapping of supercritical CO2 is not feasible from a practical perspective. To provide insight into the impact of well-defined heterogeneous systems on the flow dynamics and trapping efficiency of supercritical CO2 under drainage and imbibition conditions, we present an experimental investigation at the meter scale conducted in synthetic sand reservoirs packed in a quasi-two-dimensional flow-cell. Two immiscible displacement experiments have been performed to observe the preferential entrapment of NWP in simple heterogeneous porous media. The experiments consisted of an injection, a fluid redistribution, and a forced imbibition stages conducted in an uncorrelated permeability field and a homogeneous base casemore » scenario. We adopted x-ray attenuation analysis as a non-destructive technique that allows a precise measurement of phase saturations throughout the entire flow domain. By comparing a homogeneous and a heterogeneous scenario we have identified some important effects that can be attributed to capillary barriers, such as dampened plume advancement, higher non-wetting phase saturations, larger contact area between the injected and displaced phases, and a larger range of non-wetting phase saturations.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States). Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes (CESEP)
  2. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States). Petroleum Engineering Dept.
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab., CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; FE0004630; EAR-1045282
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE); National Science Foundation, Arlington VA (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES capillary trapping; immiscible displacement experiments; surrogate fluids; x-ray attenuation method; heterogeneous porous media