Area 1: Influence of Local Capillary Trapping on Containment System Effectiveness Email Page
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Performer:  University of Texas at Austin Location:  Austin, Texas
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 03/31/2014 Award Number:  FE0004956
Technology Area:  Geologic Storage Technologies and Simulation and Risk Assessment Total Award Value:  $538,925
Key Technology:  Fluid Flow, Pressure, and Water Management DOE Share:  $428,737
Performer Share:  $110,187

Capillary heterogeneity controls the structure of<br/>buoyancy-driven CO<sub>2</sub> plume. Left: Schematic of<br/>plume re-direction by heterogeneity. Right: Concept<br/>is analogous to the spill point in an oil/gas trap.
Capillary heterogeneity controls the structure of
buoyancy-driven CO2 plume. Left: Schematic of
plume re-direction by heterogeneity. Right: Concept
is analogous to the spill point in an oil/gas trap.

Project Description

The overall objective of this project is to obtain the first rigorous assessment of the amount and extent of local capillary trapping expected to occur in typical storage formations. The University of Texas Austin is gathering variogram models typical of CO2 storage formations and generating a large number of geostatistical realizations of permeability from these models. The realizations are being populated with key petrophysical properties using crossproperty correlations and the spatial properties of the resulting model formations are being analyzed to determine the potential for local capillary trapping. The emplacement and buoyancy-driven migration of CO2 and the onset of a leakage path in the overlying seal is being simulated and the simulation was analyzed to determine the extent of filling of the local capillary traps and the degree of immobilization within them. Final-scale CO2 saturation distributions were extracted from the simulations and bench-scale buoyant displacements in heterogeneous 2D sand packs were performed.

Project Benefits

This project focuses on the development of a methodology to identify and quantify the extent of capillary trapping of CO2 in heterogeneous geologic storage formations. Extensive capillary trapping of CO2 provides confidence that storage is permanent. Specifically, this project is conducting laboratory experiments and performing numerical simulations to assess the extent and location of trapping in geologic repositories thereby reducing the risks associated with long-term CO2 storage.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Karen Kluger:
Technology Manager Traci Rodosta:
Principal Investigator Steven Bryant: