CO₂ injection and storage project begins

A £1.5 million research collaboration is under way to investigate the fundamental processes involved in carbon dioxide injection and storage in sub-surface geological formations, and develop methodologies to support deployment of the climate change technology.

The three-year project, which was awarded funding by EPSRC earlier this year, brings together researchers from SCCS partner institutes, Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey (BGS), with fellow scientists from Imperial College London, the University of Leeds and Cardiff University. Industry partner, Progressive Energy, and the Energy Technologies Institute also join the research team.

The project, entitled "CO₂ injection and storage - short and long-term behaviour at different spatial scales" is being led by Professor Sevket Durucan and Dr Anna Korre at Imperial College London. The team at Imperial will be joined by Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, of Heriot-Watt University, and Martyn Quinn and Robert Gatliff of BGS, alongside Professor Quentin Fisher in Leeds and Professor Nicholas Pidgeon in Cardiff.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is expected to play a major role in helping the UK Government meet ambitious emissions reduction targets by 2050. It also has the potential to address CO&#8322 emissions in rapidly developing nations, such as China and India. A significant level of research is already under way in several countries to address a range of uncertainties relating to the deployment of commercial-scale CCS.

This new project will seek to fill current gaps in knowledge relating to both on and offshore CO&#8322 storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs and saline aquifers through an integrated laboratory and numerical modelling approach.

Prof Maroto-Valer, who is on the SCCS directorate, said: "We are delighted to be part of this outstanding consortium. The outcomes of this research collaboration will help to speed up the deployment of CCS by tackling engineering challenges around geological storage as well as addressing public perception and acceptability of this technology."

Mr Quinn said: "We are looking forward to working with our partners in what promises to be an exciting project with the potential for useful outcomes for CCS research. The project gives us the opportunity to build detailed 3D geological models to explore CO&#8322 flow behaviour in a variety of situations, such as adjacent to faults in compartmentalised reservoirs or within amalgamated channel systems. Results will inform well placement and injection strategies."

The main objectives of the project will be:

  • to develop methodologies to optimise CO₂ injection well placement and control strategies accounting for uncertainties;
  • to establish the effects of in-situ pressure and temperature conditions on caprock fracture closure and fault reactivation;
  • to investigate and improve understanding of the in-situ wellbore cement/rock and cement caprock behaviour in order to assess well integrity;
  • to develop novel wellbore and caprock leakage mitigation and remediation technologies, utilising sealants and induced mineral precipitation processes.

The project will end in early 2017, and the dissemination of results will be through various papers and presentations as research progresses.


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