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Title: Two-phase convective CO 2 dissolution in saline aquifers

Geologic carbon storage in deep saline aquifers is a promising technology for reducing anthropogenic emissions into the atmosphere. Dissolution of injected CO 2 into resident brines is one of the primary trapping mechanisms generally considered necessary to provide long-term storage security. Given that diffusion of CO 2 in brine is woefully slow, convective dissolution, driven by a small increase in brine density with CO 2 saturation, is considered to be the primary mechanism of dissolution trapping. Previous studies of convective dissolution have typically only considered the convective process in the single-phase region below the capillary transition zone and have either ignored the overlying two-phase region where dissolution actually takes place or replaced it with a virtual region with reduced or enhanced constant permeability. Our objective is to improve estimates of the long-term dissolution flux of CO 2 into brine by including the capillary transition zone in two-phase model simulations. In the fully two-phase model, there is a capillary transition zone above the brine-saturated region over which the brine saturation decreases with increasing elevation. Our two-phase simulations show that the dissolution flux obtained by assuming a brine-saturated, single-phase porous region with a closed upper boundary is recovered in the limit ofmore » vanishing entry pressure and capillary transition zone. For typical finite entry pressures and capillary transition zone, however, convection currents penetrate into the two-phase region. As a result, this removes the mass transfer limitation of the diffusive boundary layer and enhances the convective dissolution flux of CO 2 more than 3 times above the rate assuming single-phase conditions.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397; 618598
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 52; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; long-term dissolution flux; capillary transition zone; geologic carbon storage
OSTI Identifier: