Geologic Storage of Greenhouse Gases: Multiphase andNon-isothermal Effects, and Implications for Leakage Behavior

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Storage of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2, in geologic formations has been proposed as a means by which atmospheric emissions of such gases may be reduced (Bachu et al., 1994; Orr, 2004). Possible storage reservoirs currently under consideration include saline aquifers, depleted or depleting oil and gas fields, and unmineable coal seams (Baines and Worden, 2004). The amount of CO2 emitted from fossil-fueled power plants is very large, of the order of 30,000 tons per day (10 million tons per year) for a large 1,000 MW coal-fired plant (Hitchon,1996). In order to make a significant impact on reducing emissions, very large ... continued below

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Pruess, Karsten August 5, 2005.

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Storage of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2, in geologic formations has been proposed as a means by which atmospheric emissions of such gases may be reduced (Bachu et al., 1994; Orr, 2004). Possible storage reservoirs currently under consideration include saline aquifers, depleted or depleting oil and gas fields, and unmineable coal seams (Baines and Worden, 2004). The amount of CO2 emitted from fossil-fueled power plants is very large, of the order of 30,000 tons per day (10 million tons per year) for a large 1,000 MW coal-fired plant (Hitchon,1996). In order to make a significant impact on reducing emissions, very large amounts of CO2 would have to be injected into subsurface formations, resulting in CO2 disposal plumes with an areal extent of order 100 km2 or more (Pruess et al., 2003). It appears inevitable, then, that such plumes will encounter imperfections in caprocks, such as fracture zones or faults, that would allow CO2 to leak from the primary storage reservoir. At typical subsurface conditions of temperature and pressure, CO2 is always less dense than aqueous fluids; thus buoyancy forces will tend to drive CO2 upward, towards the land surface, whenever adequate (sub-)vertical permeability is available. Upward migration of CO2 could also occur along wells, including pre-existing wells in sedimentary basins where oil and gas exploration and production may have been conducted (Celia et al., 2004), or along wells drilled as part of a CO2 storage operation. Concerns with leakage of CO2 from a geologic storage reservoir include (1) keeping the CO2 contained and out of the atmosphere, (2) avoiding CO2 entering groundwater aquifers, (3)asphyxiation hazard if CO2 is released at the land surface, and (4) the possibility of a self-enhancing runaway discharge, that may culminate in a ''pneumatic eruption'' (Giggenbach et al., 1991). The manner in which CO2 may leak from storage reservoirs must be understood in order to avoid hazards and design monitoring systems.

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  • Modelling Coupled Processes in Porous Media,Utrecht, The Netherlands, 19-20 September 2005

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  • Report No.: LBNL--58633
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 891342
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882406

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  • August 5, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 2:47 p.m.

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Pruess, Karsten. Geologic Storage of Greenhouse Gases: Multiphase andNon-isothermal Effects, and Implications for Leakage Behavior, article, August 5, 2005; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882406/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.