Study tracks safety of underground CO2 storage

Dec 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of geoscientists, including Simon Fraser University groundwater expert Dirk Kirste, show that carbon dioxide can safely be stored underground in depleted natural gas fields.

The experiment, in the Otway basin near Melbourne, Australia, is the most heavily monitored project for CO2 storage in the world.

The project, funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), is a joint venture between government, universities and industry. Storage of CO2 underground is an important component of worldwide greenhouse gas reduction.

Kirste says, “We showed no leakage was detected. Our models fit well with the experimental results, which means we can apply these models in other places with confidence.”

In Western Canada there are several dozen sites where CO2 as well as H2S sour gas is being injected into depleted gas fields.

A true stand-alone experiment and not part of any industrial process, the CO2CRC Otway project, which began injection in 2008, took large amounts of CO2 from one gas field a kilometer away and pumped it down another well to a depth of two kilometers, where it filled a depleted natural reservoir.

Kirste, an assistant professor of earth sciences specializing in aqueous geochemistry, was responsible for groundwater monitoring and geochemical modeling of fluids deep in the reservoir, as well in drinking water aquifers near the surface.

Kirste says it’s not easy monitoring water two kilometers below the surface. Scientists must obtain samples, which exist at relatively high pressure, and bring them to the surface without chemically altering them on the way up.

“Carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid in water and it reacts with surrounding rock minerals,” says Kirste.

The study’s results are important for future commercial carbon storage and monitoring, which are mandatory in many jurisdictions. “Governments can set up regulatory frameworks for monitoring leakage of future CO2 storage facilities based on the knowledge we obtained from this study,” says Kirste.

Explore further: Scientists watch enormous Antarctic iceberg drift

Related Stories

Carbon study could help reduce harmful emissions

Feb 14, 2008

Earth scientists at The University of Manchester have found that carbon dioxide has been naturally stored for more than a million years in several gas fields in the Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountains of the United States.

Carbon capture has a sparkling future

Apr 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research shows that for millions of years carbon dioxide has been stored safely and naturally in underground water in gas fields saturated with the greenhouse gas. The findings - published ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees last vestiges of Tropical Depression Jack

1 hour ago

Tropical Cyclone Jack had weakened to a tropical depression when NASA and JAXA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed above on April 22, 2014 at 1120 UTC/7:20 a.m. EDT.

New discovery helps solve mystery source of African lava

5 hours ago

Floods of molten lava may sound like the stuff of apocalyptic theorists, but history is littered with evidence of such past events where vast lava outpourings originating deep in the Earth accompany the breakup ...

Climate change likely to make Everest even riskier

5 hours ago

Climbing to the roof of the world is becoming less predictable and possibly more dangerous, scientists say, as climate change brings warmer temperatures that may eat through the ice and snow on Mount Everest.

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2011
This is gotta be the worst plan ever.

"What could possibly go wrong."

Well, on the surface, CO2 is a bigger, denser molecule than Methane, so if the well held natural gas all them years, it would appear it should hold CO2.

But if the CO2 forms an acid, it could eat through the rocks and find it's way to the surface.

And of course, in order to be useful, the integrity of these depleted fields needs to be 100% over time scales of hundreds or even thousands of years. Good luck with that...
amck
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2011
Under these high pressures, CO2 and CO2 hydrates are negatively buoyant. Rather than rise to the surface, they would be expected to sink and mineralize with the surrounding rocks.

DuncanI
not rated yet Dec 13, 2011
Disasters such as an earthquake or reservoir cap failure may release large quantities of CO2 over short time periods, which sounds dangerous. If CO2 mineralises or is negatively bouyant, why do we get so much from methane reservoirs?
Ramael
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2011
Disasters such as an earthquake or reservoir cap failure may release large quantities of CO2 over short time periods, which sounds dangerous. If CO2 mineralises or is negatively bouyant, why do we get so much from methane reservoirs?


How do you think it got down there to begin with?
I was under the impression that the earth already did this on its own, and that yes, earthquakes already do release large quantities of co2 into the air and ocean. I see no harm in accelerating the process of putting it back in if we've already accelerated the process of taking it out. Maybe if we seed these reservoirs with some kind of anaerobic bacteria that metabolizes co2 over time, we can come back in a thousand years and get oil again? haha. talk about renewable.
omatumr
1 / 5 (5) Dec 13, 2011
CO2 did not cause Global Warming!

See: "Deep Roots of the Global Climate Scandal (1971-2011)"
http://dl.dropbox...oots.pdf

Those who thought AGW propaganda was a scientific fact now face the same fears, unemployment, homelessness, and economic uncertainty that plague so many other citizens of former "Free West" countries.

While arrogance and false pride prevent government scientists and politicians from admitting past mistakes and serving society.

Constitutional government is now at stake, as President Eisenhower warned might happen in 1961:

http://noconsensu...nt-62436

http://judithcurr...t-149143

With deep regrets,
Oliver K. Manuel
www.omatumr.com/
http://myprofile....anuelo09
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2011
omatumr
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2011
Tonight there are reports of last ditch efforts to save the crooks. It won't work:

http://noconsensu...nt-62756

Earlier today NASA belatedly started asking questions, . . .

Giving $1.4 M to Washington University to confirm or deny reports that silicon carbide (SiC) grains in the Murchison meteorite are "fall-out" particles from the supernova explosion that made our elements.

That question was answered 15 years ago by Kuroda and Myers using data from Washington University, but NASA, the US NAS, the UK's RS, and the UN's IPCC apparently didn't want anyone to know that Earth's heat source - the Sun - is not stable as they claimed, but the violently unstable remains of a supernova that gave birth to the Solar Syatem five billion (5 Gyr) ago.

Here's the rest of the story with links to data and observations:

http://dl.dropbox...asks.pdf

Regretfully,
O K Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09

More news stories

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

A Michigan State University researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help.