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Pore-scale modeling of wettability effects on CO2–brine displacement during geological storage
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2017 (English)In: Advances in Water Resources, ISSN 0309-1708, E-ISSN 1872-9657, Vol. 109, p. 181-195Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Wetting properties of reservoir rocks and caprocks can vary significantly, and they strongly influence geological storage of carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifers, during which CO2 is supposed to displace the resident brine and to become permanently trapped. Fundamental understanding of the effect of wettability on CO2-brine displacement is thus important for improving storage efficiency and security. In this study, we investigate the influence of wetting properties on two-phase flow of CO2 and brine at the pore scale. A numerical model based on the phase field method is implemented to simulate the two-phase flow of CO2-brine in a realistic pore geometry. Our focus is to study the pore-scale fluid-fluid displacement mechanisms under different wetting conditions and to quantify the effect of wettability on macroscopic parameters such as residual brine saturation, capillary pressure, relative permeability, and specific interfacial area. Our simulation results confirm that both the trapped wetting phase saturation and the normalized interfacial area increase with decreasing contact angle. However, the wetting condition does not appear to influence the CO2 breakthrough time and saturation. We also show that the macroscopic capillary pressures based on the pressure difference between inlet and outlet can differ significantly from the phase averaging capillary pressures for all contact angles when the capillary number is high ( log Ca > -5). This indicates that the inlet-outlet pressure difference may not be a good measure of the continuum-scale capillary pressure. In addition, the results show that the relative permeability of CO2 can be significantly lower in strongly water-wet conditions than in the intermediate-wet conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 109, p. 181-195
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Research subject
Hydrology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-315304DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.09.004ISI: 000416037100014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-315304DiVA, id: diva2:1073961
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 309067Swedish Research Council, 637-2014-445Swedish Energy Agency, 43526-1Available from: 2017-02-14 Created: 2017-02-14 Last updated: 2018-02-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Process Models for CO2 Migration and Leakage: Gas Transport, Pore-Scale Displacement and Effects of Impurities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process Models for CO2 Migration and Leakage: Gas Transport, Pore-Scale Displacement and Effects of Impurities
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Geological Carbon Storage (GCS) is considered as one of the key techniques to reduce the rate of atmospheric emissions of CO2 and thereby to contribute to controlling the global warming. A successful application of a GCS project requires the capability of the formation to trap CO2 for a long term. In this context, processes related to CO2 trapping and also possible leakage of CO2 to the near surface environment need to be understood. The overall aim of this thesis is to understand the flow and transport of CO2 through porous media in the context of geological storage of CO2. The entire range of scales, including the pore scale, the laboratory scale, the field experiment scale and the industrial scale of CO2 injection operation are addressed, and some of the key processes investigated by means of experiments and modeling.  First, a numerical model and laboratory experimental setup were developed to investigate the CO2 gas flow, mimicking the system in the near-surface conditions in case a leak from the storage formation should occur. The system specifically addressed the coupled flow and mass transport of gaseous CO2 both in the porous domain as well as the free flow domain above it. The comparison of experiments and modelling results showed a very good agreement indicating that the model developed can be applied to evaluate monitoring and surface detection of potential CO2 leakage. Second, the field scale CO2 injection test carried out in a shallow aquifer in Maguelone, France was analyzed and modeled. The results showed that Monte Carlo simulations accounting for the heterogeneity effects of the permeability field did capture the key observations of the monitoring data, while a homogeneous model could not represent them. Third, a numerical model based on phase-field method was developed and model simulations carried out addressing the effect of wettability on CO2-brine displacement at the pore-scale. The results show that strongly water-wet reservoirs provide a better potential for the dissolution trapping, due to the increase of interface between CO2 and brine with very low contact angles. The results further showed that strong water-wet conditions also imply a strong capillary effect, which is important for residual trapping of CO2. Finally, numerical model development and model simulations were carried out to address the large scale geological storage of CO2 in the presence of impurity gases in the CO2 rich phase. The results showed that impurity gases N2 and CH4 affected the spatial distribution of the gas (the supercritical CO2 rich phase), and a larger volume of reservoir is needed in comparison to the pure CO2 injection scenario. In addition, the solubility trapping significantly increased in the presence of N2 and CH4

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. p. 55
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1479
Keywords
Geological Carbon Storage, CO2 leakage, Field experiment, Laboratory experiment design, Multi-phase flow, Heterogeneity, Wettability, Pore-scale modeling, Impurity gases
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Research subject
Hydrology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-315490 (URN)978-91-554-9824-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-04-07, Hambergsalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-03-16 Created: 2017-02-14 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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