Large-scale impact of CO2 storage in deep saline aquifers: A sensitivity study on pressure response in stratified systems

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Large volumes of CO{sub 2} captured from carbon emitters (such as coal-fired power plants) may be stored in deep saline aquifers as a means of mitigating climate change. Storing these additional fluids may cause pressure changes and displacement of native brines, affecting subsurface volumes that can be significantly larger than the CO{sub 2} plume itself. This study aimed at determining the three-dimensional region of influence during/after injection of CO{sub 2} and evaluating the possible implications for shallow groundwater resources, with particular focus on the effects of interlayer communication through low-permeability seals. To address these issues quantitatively, we conducted numerical simulations ... continued below

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Birkholzer, J.T.; Zhou, Q. & Tsang, C.-F. November 1, 2008.

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Large volumes of CO{sub 2} captured from carbon emitters (such as coal-fired power plants) may be stored in deep saline aquifers as a means of mitigating climate change. Storing these additional fluids may cause pressure changes and displacement of native brines, affecting subsurface volumes that can be significantly larger than the CO{sub 2} plume itself. This study aimed at determining the three-dimensional region of influence during/after injection of CO{sub 2} and evaluating the possible implications for shallow groundwater resources, with particular focus on the effects of interlayer communication through low-permeability seals. To address these issues quantitatively, we conducted numerical simulations that provide a basic understanding of the large-scale flow and pressure conditions in response to industrial-scale CO{sub 2} injection into a laterally open saline aquifer. The model domain included an idealized multilayered groundwater system, with a sequence of aquifers and aquitards (sealing units) extending from the deep saline storage formation to the uppermost freshwater aquifer. Both the local CO{sub 2}-brine flow around the single injection site and the single-phase water flow (with salinity changes) in the region away from the CO{sub 2} plume were simulated. Our simulation results indicate considerable pressure buildup in the storage formation more than 100 km away from the injection zone, whereas the lateral distance migration of brine is rather small. In the vertical direction, the pressure perturbation from CO{sub 2} storage may reach shallow groundwater resources only if the deep storage formation communicates with the shallow aquifers through sealing units of relatively high permeabilities (higher than 10 x 18 m{sup 2}). Vertical brine migration through a sequence of layers into shallow groundwater bodies is extremely unlikely. Overall, large-scale pressure changes appear to be of more concern to groundwater resources than changes in water quality caused by the migration of displaced saline water.

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  • Journal Name: International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL-1252E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2008.08.002 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 944433
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc899531

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  • November 1, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2017, 5:38 p.m.

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Birkholzer, J.T.; Zhou, Q. & Tsang, C.-F. Large-scale impact of CO2 storage in deep saline aquifers: A sensitivity study on pressure response in stratified systems, article, November 1, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc899531/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.