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Research themes at Stanford Center for Carbon Storage

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Carbon storage refers to the set of technologies developed to inject captured carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in deep geological formations for long term storage. It is a potential means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming. There are unanswered fundamental scientific questions that must be addressed for more efficient implementation of large-scale projects of geological CO2 storage and sequestration within the next several decades. Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) was established in 2011. SCCS investigates questions related to enhanced recovery of oil and gas combined with CO2 storage, mixed gas injection processes, the development of monitoring technologies for all classes of geological storage, the characterization of both near-well and distal geochemical processes during CO2 injection, and computational optimization of the design and operation of large projects.

A broad range of fundamental scientific questions must be addressed to consider implementation of large-scale projects of geological CO2 storage and sequestration within the next several decades. Building upon the successful CO2 storage research undertaken over the past eight years in the Global Climate and Energy Project, Stanford professors from the Departments of Energy Resources Engineering, Geological Sciences and Geophysics have established a new research consortium: The Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) investigates questions related to sequestration in saline aquifers and shale and coal formations, as well as in mature or depleted oil and gas reservoirs as part of enhanced recovery/sequestration/storage projects. This collaborative and multidisciplinary effort addresses critical questions related to flow physics and chemistry, simulation of the transport and fate of CO2 in geologic media, rock physics, geophysical monitoring, and geomechanics.

  • Multiphase flow physics of CO2/water/oil systems: relative permeability, residual trapping, surface tension parameterization
  • The characterization of pore-scale processes: capillary trapping,bubble dissolution and exsolution
  • Upscaling of unstable flows and path dependent processes: gravity currents, fingering, chemical reactions
  • Reservoir simulations of CO2-water-oil systems
  • Reservoir engineering for large injection projects: managing pressure buildup and induced seismicity, maximizing residual trapping, stratigraphic trap utilization, optimization of combined EOR-sequestration systems
  • CO2 injection into tight rocks and coal-beds: micropermeability, enhanced gas recovery, gas adsorption, the integrity of caprocks
  • Geomechanical impacts of CO2 injection
  • Geophysical monitoring of CO2 in the subsurface
  • Chemical reactions in rock-CO2-water-oil systems and sequestration of CO2 in the solid phase.
  • Hybrid schemes utilizing CO2 for reservoir stimulation, enhanced recovery and carbon storage in shale gas formations