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Title: An Evaluation of Subsurface Microbial Activity Conditional to Subsurface Temperature, Porosity, and Permeability at North American Carbon Sequestration Sites

Several nations, including the United States, recognize global climate change as a force transforming the global ecosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that contributes to the evolving climate. Reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels is a goal for many nations and carbon sequestration which traps CO2 in the Earth’s subsurface is one method to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. Among the variables that must be considered in developing this technology to a national scale is microbial activity. Microbial activity or biomass can change rock permeability, alter artificial seals around boreholes, and play a key role in biogeochemistry and accordingly may determine how CO2 is sequestered underground. Certain physical parameters of a reservoir found in literature (e.g., temperature, porosity, and permeability) may indicate whether a reservoir can host microbial communities. In order to estimate which subsurface formations may host microbes, this report examines the subsurface temperature, porosity, and permeability of underground rock formations that have high potential to be targeted for CO2 sequestration. Of the 268 North American wellbore locations from the National Carbon Sequestration Database (NATCARB; National Energy and Technology Laboratory, 2015) and 35 sites from Nelson and Kibler (2003), 96 sequestration sites contain temperature data. Of these 96 sites,more » 36 sites have temperatures that would be favorable for microbial survival, 48 sites have mixed conditions for supporting microbial populations, and 11 sites would appear to be unfavorable to support microbial populations. Future studies of microbe viability would benefit from a larger database with more formation parameters (e.g. mineralogy, structure, and groundwater chemistry), which would help to increase understanding of where CO2 sequestration could be most efficiently implemented.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge Inst. for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
  2. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
  3. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States); Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States). College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States); Oak Ridge Inst. for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States