There is great potential for synergy between the geologic storage of CO2 and the enhanced production of hydrocarbons from oil reservoirs, gas shales, and coal-gas reservoirs. Many questions remain ranging from flow characteristics of gas in tight rocks and reservoirs of heavy oils, upscaling of flow and transport simulations, surface chemical interactions between coals and shales and CO2, and optimal production strategies from tight gas reservoirs.
Monitoring of CO2 sequestration projects for quantification and assurance of storage security is essential for the commercial deployment of this technology. Both traditional geophysical and novel non-seismic techniques need to be developed that allow for the quantitative observation of CO2 in the subsurface at precisions higher than currently exist. In addition methods need to be developed to take into account the impact of geochemical changes within the subsurface on geophysical parameters.
Geochemical processes are among the least understood processes in the geologic storage of CO2. However, geochemical reactions will impact storage projects as a result of chemical reactions that potentially alter the storage integrity of the cap rock, damage the reservoir and decrease injectivity, and mineralize CO2. In addition, the mineralization of CO2 to carbonate rocks provides the highest level of storage security possible, and optimizing these reactions could provide an important tool for CO2 storage.
Modeling is essential to both understanding underlying physical phenomena in the geologic storage of CO2 and for optimization in the design, operation, and risk assessment of large storage projects.
Adsorption and membrane processes are investigated for carbon capture applications. Breakthrough and isotherm experiments are carried out on carbon-based sorbents to investigate the kinetics and material capacities. Simulations using Grand Canonical Monte Carlo are carried out to assist in sorbent design (pore structure and chemistry). Similar models are used to investigate gas (CO2, methane, water) transport in nanoporous systems of coal and gas shale rocks. Nitrogen-selective membrane technology is also investigated for carbon capture.