CO2 Leaks From Geological Storage: Geomechanics, Fluid Flow and Phase Transitions

Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 7, 2013 - 3:45pm-4:00pm

Deep saline aquifers are considered as a promising option for long-term storage of carbon dioxide. However , risk of CO2 leakage from the aquifers through faults , natural or induced fractures or abandoned wells cannot be disregarded. Therefore , modeling of various leakage scenarios is crucial when selecting a site for CO2 sequestration and choosing proper operational conditions. Carbon dioxide is injected into wells at supercritical conditions (t˚ > 31.04 ˚C , P > 73.82 bar) , and these conditions are maintained in the deep aquifers (at 1-2 km depth) due to hydrostatic pressure and geothermal gradient. However , if CO2 and brine start to migrate from the aquifer upward , both pressure and temperature will decrease , and at the depth of 500-750 m , the conditions for CO2 will become subcritical. At subcritical conditions , CO2 starts boiling and the character of the flow changes dramatically due to appearance of the third (vapor) phase and latent heat effects. When modeling CO2 leaks , one needs to couple the multiphase flow in porous media with geomechanics.  These capabilities are provided by Dynaflow , a finite element analysis program [1]; Dynaflow has already showed to be efficient for modeling caprock failure causing CO2 leaks [2 , 3]. Currently we have extended the capabilities of Dynaflow with the phase transition module , based on two-phase and three-phase isenthalpic flash calculations [4]. We have also developed and implemented an efficient method for solving heat and mass transport with the phase transition using our flash module. Therefore , we have developed a robust tool for modeling CO2 leaks. In the talk we will give a brief overview of our method and illustrate it with the results of simulations for characteristic test cases. References: [1] J.H. Prevost , DYNAFLOW: A Nonlinear Transient Finite Element Analysis Program. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , Princeton University , Princeton , NJ. (last update 2012) , 1981.[2] M. Preisig , J.H. Prevost , Coupled multi-phase thermo-poromechanical effects. Case study: CO2 injection at In Salah , Algeria , International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control , 5 (2011) 1055-1064.[3] G.Y. Gor , T.R. Elliot , J.H. Prevost , Effects of thermal stresses on caprock integrity during CO2 storage , International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control , 12 (2013) 300-309.[4] M.L. Michelsen , J.M. Mollerup , Thermodynamic Models: Fundamentals and Computational Aspects. 2nd Edition , Tie-Line Publications , 2007.

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