Mechanisms for mechanical trapping of geologically sequestered carbon dioxide
Author(s)Rothman, Daniel H.; Cohen, Yosef
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Carbon dioxide (CO[subscript 2]) sequestration in subsurface reservoirs is important for limiting atmospheric CO[subscript 2] concentrations. However, a complete physical picture able to predict the structure developing within the porous medium is lacking. We investigate theoretically reactive transport in the long-time evolution of carbon in the brine–rock environment. As CO[subscript 2] is injected into a brine–rock environment, a carbonate-rich region is created amid brine. Within the carbonate-rich region minerals dissolve and migrate from regions of high-to-low concentration, along with other dissolved carbonate species. This causes mineral precipitation at the interface between the two regions. We argue that precipitation in a small layer reduces diffusivity, and eventually causes mechanical trapping of the CO[subscript 2]. Consequently, only a small fraction of the CO[subscript 2] is converted to solid mineral; the remainder either dissolves in water or is trapped in its original form. We also study the case of a pure CO[subscript 2] bubble surrounded by brine and suggest a mechanism that may lead to a carbonate-encrusted bubble owing to structural diffusion.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemical Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Lorenz Center (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Cohen, Y., and D. H. Rothman. “Mechanisms for Mechanical Trapping of Geologically Sequestered Carbon Dioxide.” Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 471, no. 2175 (January 21, 2015): 20140853–20140853.
Final published version