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Title: Intermediate-Scale Experimental Study to Improve Fundamental Understanding of Attenuation Capacity for Leaking CO 2 in Heterogeneous Shallow Aquifers

In order to assess the risks of Geologic Carbon Sequestration (GCS), it is crucial to understand the fundamental physicochemical processes that may occur if and when stored CO 2 leaks upward from a deep storage reservoir into the shallow subsurface. Intermediate-scale experiments allow for improved understanding of the multiphase evolution processes that control CO 2 migration behaviour in the subsurface, because the boundary conditions, initial conditions, and porous media parameters can be better controlled and monitored in the laboratory than in field settings. For this study, a large experimental test bed was designed to mimic a cross-section of a shallow aquifer with layered geologic heterogeneity. As water with aqueous CO 2 was injected into the system to mimic a CO 2-charged water leakage scenario, the spatiotemporal evolution of the multiphase CO 2 plume was monitored. Similar experiments were performed with two different sand combinations to assess the relative effects of different types of geologic facies transitions on the CO 2 evolution processes. Significant CO 2 attenuation was observed in both scenarios, but by fundamentally different mechanisms. When the porous media layers had very different permeabilities, attenuation was caused by local accumulation (structural trapping) and slow re-dissolution of gas phase COmore » 2. When the permeability difference between the layers was relatively small, on the other hand, gas phase continually evolved over widespread areas near the leading edge of the aqueous plume, which also attenuated CO 2 migration. In conclusion, this improved process understanding will aid in the development of models that could be used for effective risk assessment and monitoring programs for GCS projects.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States). Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 53; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE), Clean Coal and Carbon (FE-20)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1410889