Estimating Plume Volume for Geologic Storage of CO2 in Saline Aquifers

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Typically, when a new subsurface flow and transport problem is first being considered, very simple models with a minimal number of parameters are used to get a rough idea of how the system will evolve. For a hydrogeologist considering the spreading of a contaminant plume in an aquifer, the aquifer thickness, porosity, and permeability might be enough to get started. If the plume is buoyant, aquifer dip comes into play. If regional groundwater flow is significant or there are nearby wells pumping, these features need to be included. Generally, the required parameters tend to be known from pre-existing studies, are ... continued below

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Doughty, Christine July 11, 2008.

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Typically, when a new subsurface flow and transport problem is first being considered, very simple models with a minimal number of parameters are used to get a rough idea of how the system will evolve. For a hydrogeologist considering the spreading of a contaminant plume in an aquifer, the aquifer thickness, porosity, and permeability might be enough to get started. If the plume is buoyant, aquifer dip comes into play. If regional groundwater flow is significant or there are nearby wells pumping, these features need to be included. Generally, the required parameters tend to be known from pre-existing studies, are parameters that people working in the field are familiar with, and represent features that are easy to explain to potential funding agencies, regulators, stakeholders, and the public. The situation for geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) in saline aquifers is quite different. It is certainly desirable to do preliminary modeling in advance of any field work since geologic storage of CO{sub 2} is a novel concept that few people have much experience with or intuition about. But the parameters that control CO{sub 2} plume behavior are a little more daunting to assemble and explain than those for a groundwater flow problem. Even the most basic question of how much volume a given mass of injected CO{sub 2} will occupy in the subsurface is non-trivial. However, with a number of simplifying assumptions, some preliminary estimates can be made, as described below. To make efficient use of the subsurface storage volume available, CO{sub 2} density should be large, which means choosing a storage formation at depths below about 800 m, where pressure and temperature conditions are above the critical point of CO{sub 2} (P = 73.8 bars, T = 31 C). Then CO{sub 2} will exist primarily as a free-phase supercritical fluid, while some CO{sub 2} will dissolve into the aqueous phase.

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  • Journal Name: Ground Water

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  • Report No.: LBNL-656E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2008.00496_6.x | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 944979
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902366

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 11, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2017, 5:19 p.m.

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Doughty, Christine. Estimating Plume Volume for Geologic Storage of CO2 in Saline Aquifers, article, July 11, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902366/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.