Numerically Simulating the Carbonate Mineralization ...

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XVI International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources (CMWR-XVI) Ingeniørhuset

Numerically Simulating the Carbonate Mineralization of Basalt with the Injection of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide in Deep Saline Aquifers
Author:M. D. White <> (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
B. P. McGrail <> (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
H. T. Schaef <> (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
Y. Fang <> (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
Presenter:M. D. White <> (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
Date: 2006-06-18     Track: Special Sessions     Session: Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

The principal mechanisms for the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifers include geological structural trapping, hydrological entrapment of nonwetting fluids, aqueous phase dissolution and ionization, and geochemical sorption and mineralization. In sedimentary saline aquifers the dominant mechanisms are structural and dissolution trapping, with moderate to weak contributions from hydrological and geochemical trapping; where, hydrological trapping occurs during the imbibition of aqueous solution into pore spaces occupied by gaseous carbon dioxide, and geochemical trapping is controlled by generally slow reaction kinetics. In addition to being globally abundant and vast, deep basaltic lava aquifers offer mineralization kinetics that make geochemical trapping a dominate mechanism for trapping carbon dioxide in these formations. For several decades the United States Department of Energy has been investigating Columbia River basalt in the Pacific Northwest as part of its environmental programs and options for natural gas storage. Recently this nonpotable and extensively characterized basalt aquifer is being reconsidered as a potential reservoir for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. The reservoir has an estimated storage capacity of 100 giga tonnes of carbon dioxide and comprises layered basalt flows with sublayering that generally alternates between low permeability massive and high permeability breccia. Chemical analysis of the formation shows 10 wt% Fe, primarily in the +2 valence. The mineralization reaction that makes basalt aquifers attractive for carbon dioxide sequestration is that of calcium, magnesium, and iron silicates reacting with dissolved carbon dioxide, producing carbonate minerals and amorphous quartz. Preliminary estimates of the kinetics of the silicate-to-carbonate reactions have been determined experimentally and this research is continuing to determine effects of temperature, pressure, rock composition and mineral assemblages on the reaction rates. This study numerically investigates the injection, migration and sequestration of supercritical carbon dioxide in deep Columbia River basalt formations using the multifluid subsurface flow and reactive transport simulator STOMP-CO2. Simulations are executed on high resolution multiple stochastic realizations of the layered basalt systems and demonstrate the migration behavior through layered basalt aquifers and the mineralization of dissolved carbon dioxide. Reported results include images of the migration behavior, distribution of carbonate formation, quantities of injected and sequestered carbon dioxide, and percentages of the carbon dioxide sequestered by different mechanisms over time.