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Flow and reaction in porous rocks

Flow and reaction in porous rocks: Carbon-dioxide storage

Laboratory experiment demonstrating the spreading of carbon dioxide (pink) in a porous rock reservoir. Time t is non-dimensional. Scale bar, 2 cm. (From Cardoso S.S.S. and Andres J.T.H., 2014, Geochemistry of silicate-rich rocks can curtail spreading of carbon dioxide in subsurface aquifers, Nature Comm. 5:5743 (6 pp), DOI:10.1038/ncomms6743).

 

In order to mitigate global warming, millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by industrial processes are currently being captured and stored deep underground, in depleted oil and gas fields, and in deep saline formations. We are interested in understanding the long-term fate of this stored carbon dioxide: How does it move underground? How does it interact chemically with the surrounding rock? Can there be an accidental leakage of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere or the deep ocean? What would happen if such an accident were to occur?

These studies also have implications for the understanding of other accidental chemical plumes, released into the atmosphere, ocean or into porous rock structures.