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Title: Two-phase convective CO2 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 CO2 into resident brines is one of the primary trapping mechanisms generally considered necessary to provide long-term storage security. Given that diffusion of CO2 in brine is woefully slow, convective dissolution, driven by a small increase in brine density with CO2 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 CO2 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 of vanishing entry pressure andmore » 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 CO2 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: