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01-09-2012 | Special Issue | Issue 2/2012

Environmental Earth Sciences 2/2012

Feasibility of geoelectrical monitoring and multiphase modeling for process understanding of gaseous CO2 injection into a shallow aquifer

Journal:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Issue 2/2012
Authors:
Hendrik Lamert, H. Geistlinger, U. Werban, C. Schütze, A. Peter, G. Hornbruch, A. Schulz, M. Pohlert, S. Kalia, M. Beyer, J. Großmann, A. Dahmke, P. Dietrich

Abstract

Potential pathways in the subsurface may allow upwardly migrating gaseous CO2 from deep geological storage formations to be released into near surface aquifers. Consequently, the availability of adequate methods for monitoring potential CO2 releases in both deep geological formations and the shallow subsurface is a prerequisite for the deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage technology. Geoelectrical surveys are carried out for monitoring a small-scale and temporally limited CO2 injection experiment in a pristine shallow aquifer system. Additionally, the feasibility of multiphase modeling was tested in order to describe both complex non-linear multiphase flow processes and the electrical behavior of partially saturated heterogeneous porous media. The suitability of geoelectrical methods for monitoring injected CO2 and geochemically altered groundwater was proven. At the test site, geoelectrical measurements reveal significant variations in electrical conductivity in the order of 15–30 %. However, site-specific conditions (e.g., geological settings, groundwater composition) significantly influence variations in subsurface electrical conductivity and consequently, the feasibility of geoelectrical monitoring. The monitoring results provided initial information concerning gaseous CO2 migration and accumulation processes. Geoelectrical monitoring, in combination with multiphase modeling, was identified as a useful tool for understanding gas phase migration and mass transfer processes that occur due to CO2 intrusions in shallow aquifer systems.

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