Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide

Date:
July 9, 2012
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Kansas geologists are doing a comprehensive statewide study on using rocks for long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

Two Kansas State University geologists are part of a comprehensive statewide study on using rocks for long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

Related Articles


Carbon dioxide is a gas that is a byproduct of respiration and burning fossil fuels and heat sources, among other causes. Studies have linked increased carbon dioxide production to climate change.

"Currently, more carbon dioxide is being produced by various sources, both natural and anthropogenic, and is going into the atmosphere," said Saugata Datta, assistant professor of geology who is leading the university's involvement in the project. "This study is not to look at what carbon dioxide does to the atmosphere, but rather how to sequester it and keep it from reaching the atmosphere in the first place."

Datta and Robin Barker, master's student in geology, Arnoldsville, Ga., are studying the geochemical effectiveness of trapping and storing carbon dioxide by injecting it more than 5,000 feet underground in the Arbuckle aquifer under Kansas. The aquifer has a thick layer of porous rock that scientists believe could permanently store carbon dioxide. It also contains groundwater with such high salt concentrations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed it unsafe to drink.

According to Datta, determining whether the rocks of the Arbuckle are effective for permanently storing carbon dioxide could be beneficial to manufacturing and production industries, which currently monitor carbon dioxide production levels due to regulations.

The aquifer is one of 10 throughout the nation that is being studied. Scientists from other national institutions and universities are conducting similar projects in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The study at Kansas State University is threefold. For the first portion -- already in progress -- Datta and Barker are using water and rock core samples from the aquifer to look at the mineralogical composition of deep formation waters and rock, as well as how they interact. Ion chromotography and mass spectrometers are being used to study the organic and inorganic components of the water.

"We're essentially tearing apart a drop of water for analysis," Datta said. "Water is a really great indicator of what's going on in the subsurface. It also indicated delicately what can happen in the subsurface after injection of carbon dioxide. By studying it, we can understand where it comes from, how the change in environment from adding carbon dioxide affected it and what will happen over a long period of time."

The second phase centers on storage -- injecting carbon dioxide into aquifer rocks. Researchers are using drill core samples collected from the aquifer, along with brine and carbon dioxide, to geochemically model what happens when carbon dioxide is injected into the aquifer rocks. With this, researchers can look at what happens to the groundwater before, during and after the carbon dioxide injection. Additionally, they can predict what will happen to the stored carbon dioxide decades into the future.

"We're really looking into the geochemical feasibility of this as a solution," Barker said. "So far, the preliminary conclusion is that geochemically, it appears that we will be able to safely sequester the carbon dioxide in the aquifer without affecting any drinking water sources."

The project will enter its third phase beginning January 2013 with a large-scale experiment in Wellington. Researchers will inject 40,000 metric tons of compressed carbon dioxide 5,000 feet below the Arbuckle aquifer and 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into an overlying oil reservoir. Various sampling techniques will be used to study and model the carbon dioxide and its lifespan in the aquifer.

"It has already been proven that certain minerals within rocks, such as silicates, are able to trap carbon dioxide and transform it into a solid mineral," Datta said. "Ultimately what that means is that once the carbon dioxide is trapped as a mineral, there is very little chance of it being dissolved and being released into the atmosphere. This is essentially locking it up forever."

The injection test will continue until May 14, 2014.

In addition to Kansas State University, scientists collaborating on the Kansas project are from: the Kansas Geological Survey, headed by Lynn Watney, geoscientist and project manager; University of Kansas; Wichita-based BEREXCO Inc.; Lawrence Berkley National Laboratories; and Sandia Technologies. Each institution is looking at a different aspect of the carbon dioxide sequestration, such as drilling and evaluating wells; monitoring the carbon dioxide plume; injecting carbon dioxide in an oil reservoir to test oil recovery; and ensuring containment of the carbon dioxide from leaking to surface aquifers.

Carbon dioxide will be transported by Abengoa Biofuels from an ethanol plant in nearby Colwich.

For its portion, Kansas State University was awarded four separate grants from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling more than $800,000 throughout the course of the study.

The project will end, and results will be released, in 2015.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120709121319.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2012, July 9). Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120709121319.htm
Kansas State University. "Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120709121319.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Oklahomans "devastated" By Tornado Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Buildings and homes lay in ruins and a semi-truck gets flipped following a fierce tornado that left at least one person dead. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins