Storage research - Understanding storage resources

Finding suitable sites for the storage of CO2 close to emissions sources is often the biggest uncertainty in the CCS chain. Earlier work by CO2CRC identified a number of large, high quality storage reservoirs in Australia. Some of this storage capacity is found in saline formations located near major sources. CO2CRC research aims to further understand and model the sedimentary architecture, geomechanical behaviour and likely fluid flow at potential sites. In addition, CO2CRC is developing suitable technologies and strategies for managing CO2 injection and storage together with monitoring and verification technologies to show that CO2 storage is safe. This research and demonstration will enable governments to effectively plan mitigation infrastructure strategy and regulatory regimes.

Development and operation of geological storage research facilities, Otway site

CO2CRC will use its world-class facilities and operations at the CO2CRC Otway Project in leading edge CO2 storage research. It will operate a series of targeted, small scale experiments at the Otway site to test and demonstrate various trapping mechanisms for CO2 stored underground. Other techniques to be demonstrated are effective modelling and monitoring of stored CO2.

Otway Stage I integration

Injection stopped for Stage 1 in September 2009, but the long timescales of reservoir processes, and the strong seasonal influence on environmental monitoring, mean that at least another year is required to gather and analyse the monitoring data. CO2CRC researchers are compiling other data gathered during Otway Stage 1 with the aim of publishing the results in an integrated form.

CO2 storage in saline formations - Otway Basin

This research aims to characterise the geological, geochemical and hydraulic architecture, formation water salinity, geomechanical and geothermal conditions of saline formations with CO2 storage potential within the Otway Basin, supporting further geological characterisation for the CO2CRC Otway Project injection experiments. Storage systems are being modelled to evaluate potential impacts on existing aquifer systems and energy resources within the basin.

Understanding CO2 storage in saline formations

The near and far-field effects of CO2 storage in saline formations need to be better understood as a basis for evaluating CO2 storage capacity, injectivity and containment, evaluating the impact on other resources and as a basis for effective management of large scale CO2 storage in saline formations.

Reactive reservoir rocks and their impact on CO2 storage in terms of injectivity and containment

This project investigates the chemical interaction between the CO2 storage rock, CO2, its co-contaminants, formation fluids, and the deep microbial activity. Natural CO2 accumulations provide valuable information as analogues for CO2 storage, in particular on the mineral reactions in the storage host rock. Short-term mineral reactions can occur during CO2 injection in a reservoir with reactive minerals such as clay or of volcanic origin that can impact injectivity. Flue gas streams from coal-fired power plants contain varying amounts of NOx, SOx, and O2 that could potentially be sequestered instead of scrubbed from the flue gas stream at great cost. Microbial activity can generate biofilms that can potentially be deployed for CO2 leak prevention.

Seal geomechanics and potential for CO2 leakage

This project aims to assess the geological circumstances in which faults (and fractures) in mudstone seal rocks may impact on the flow of CO2 through these rocks and other geomechanical processes that might result in CO2 moving out of containment.

Predictive modelling of storage reservoirs

The CO2CRC Otway Project is unique in that it is currently the only site anywhere in the world where there is scope for injecting tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 under geologically well-constrained research conditions. This project aims to use the existing Otway facilities to improve predictive modelling for a range of reservoir types and a variety of trapping mechanisms, and to extend the Otway learnings to potential storage sites.

Improved monitoring and verification (M&V)

This project will use the Otway site (and potentially other research opportunities) to develop more reliable and cost-effective monitoring systems for future demonstration and commercial projects. The objective is to develop and maintain an inventory of M&V techniques, with detailed information on the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of each technique, and on the interpretation and quantification of the measurements that can be made.

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