Area 1: Influence of Local Capillary Trapping on Containment System Effectiveness


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.
University of Texas at Austin
Website:  University of Texas at Austin
Award Number:  FE0004956
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 03/31/2014
Total Award Value:  $538,925
DOE Share:  $428,737
Performer Share:  $110,187
Technology Area:  Geologic Storage Technologies and Simulation and Risk Assessment
Key Technology:  Fluid Flow, Pressure, and Water Management
Location:  Austin, Texas

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.

Contact Information

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

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