J. M. Matter

Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (57)78.54 Total impact

  • AGU Fall meeting 2014; 12/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Geologic carbon sequestration has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. However, one barrier to large scale implementation is concern for water quality degradation from leakage of high CO2 fluids into drinking water aquifers. The hydrogeochemical response to simulated CO2 leakage was studied to estimate major and trace element release and to develop criteria for water quality monitoring and risk assessment. In this study, approximately 3100 L aquifer water enhanced with 1 atmosphere pressure CO2 gas was injected into a fracture zone located at 362–366 m below the ground surface in a sandstone/siltstone/mudstone interbedded aquifer in the Newark Basin. This was followed by a 3–6 week long incubation and then continuous monitoring of the hydrogeochemistry in the pumped-back water samples. Relative to background conditions, the recovered aquifer water displayed a decrease of pH, increase of alkalinity, Ca, Mg and Si concentrations, decrease of sulfate and Mo concentrations, and increased concentrations of trace elements including Fe, Mn, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Ba and U. These changes in aquifer water geochemistry can be explained by (a) dissolution of silicate and carbonate minerals and (b) trace element release that appear to be dependent on pH and pCO2 and affected by the altered redox conditions in the aquifer. Rapid and simultaneous changes of pH, specific conductance, major and trace metal release in aquifer water could be used as indicators of CO2 leakage from geologic sequestration sites. Hydrogeochemical parameters including pH, total dissolved solids and trace elements, particularly Fe, Mn, and Zn, need to be monitored in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations.
    International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 07/2014; 26:193–203. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are attributed to the rising consumption of fossil fuels for energy generation around the world. One of the most stable and environmentally benign methods of reducing atmospheric CO2 is by storing it as thermodynamically stable carbonate minerals. Olivine ((Mg,Fe)2SiO4) is an abundant mineral that reacts with CO2 to form Mg-carbonate. The carbonation of olivine can be enhanced by injecting solutions containing CO2 at high partial pressure into olivine-rich formations at high temperatures, or by performing ex situ mineral carbonation in a reactor system with temperature and pressure control. In this study, the effects of NaHCO3 and NaCl, whose roles in enhanced mineral carbonation have been debated, were investigated in detail along with the effects of temperature, CO2 partial pressure and reaction time for determining the extent of olivine carbonation and its associated chemical and morphological changes. At high temperature and high CO2 pressure conditions, more than 70% olivine carbonation was achieved in 3 hours in the presence of 0.64 M NaHCO3. In contrast, NaCl did not significantly affect olivine carbonation. As olivine was dissolved and carbonated, its pore volume, surface area and particle size were significantly changed and these changes influenced subsequent reactivity of olivine. Thus, for both long-term simulation of olivine carbonation in geologic formations and the ex situ reactor design, the morphological changes of olivine during its reaction with CO2 should be carefully considered in order to accurately estimate the CO2 storage capacity and understand the mechanisms for CO2 trapping by olivine.
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 01/2014; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 01/2014; 26:193-203. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In situ mineral carbonation in mantle peridotite has been proposed as a mechanism for long-term, environmentally benign CO2 sequestration1,2. This process converts peridotite and CO2 to carbonate minerals, like magnesite, in the subsurface, providing permanent and safe storage of the CO2. The volume that can be sequestered in this manner is an open question as peridotite carbonation involves a positive volume change and peridotite aquifers have limited porosity and permeability to accommodate the addition of solid volume. Conversion of peridotite to magnesite results in a volume increase of ~44%, which will fill the existing pore space and could limit the extent of carbonation by reducing porosity and permeability, clogging fluid flow paths, and armoring the reactive surface area. Alternatively, the force of crystallization and changes in fluid pressure from carbonation could act as driving forces for mechanical deformation and fracture propagation within the peridotite, creating new porosity, permeability, and reactive surface area, allowing carbonation to continue3. Natural examples of peridotite that have been entirely converted to magnesite suggest that reactive cracking from mineral carbonation is possible given the right conditions, such as elevated temperature and pCO2 2. Results will be presented from a reactive transport model that has been developed for peridotite carbonation using TOUGHREACT v.24. This model evaluates water and CO2 flow through peridotite fractured at different scales using a multiple continuum mesh. The effect of fluid flow, chemical reactions, and porosity and permeability feedbacks on carbonation rate and extent are explored, as is the effect of temperature. Peridotite carbonation is exothermic, so the release of heat of reaction could be balanced with the fluid injection temperature to maintain the 185oC conditions that facilitate the fastest carbonation rate2. The effect of fluid temperature and flow rate on the rate of carbonation and fracture propagation is investigated, with the goal of establishing the fluid temperatures and injection rates that will optimize the carbonation process. Additionally, pore fluid pressures are monitored as fluid transport and diffusion through fractures drive carbonation; the model then predicts at what extent of reaction progress fluid pressures will exceed the yield strength of the rock and cause fracture propagation. 1Matter and Kelemen, Nat. Geosci., 2009; 2Kelemen et al., Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 2011; 3Kelemen and Hirth, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 2012; 4Xu, et al., Comput. Geosci., 2011.
    American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA; 12/2013
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    ABSTRACT: To mitigate anthropogenically-induced climate change and ocean acidification, net carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere must be reduced. One proposed option is underground CO2 disposal. Large-scale injection of CO2 into the Earth's crust requires an understanding of the multiphase flow properties of high-pressure CO2 displacing brine. We present laboratory-scale core flooding experiments designed to measure CO2 endpoint relative permeability for CO2 displacing brine at in situ pressures, salinities, and temperatures. Endpoint drainage CO2 relative permeabilities for liquid and supercritical CO2 were found to be clustered around 0.4 for both the synthetic and natural media studied. These values indicate that relative to CO2, water may not be strongly wetting the solid surface. Based on these results, CO2 injectivity will be reduced and pressure-limited reservoirs will have reduced disposal capacity, though area-limited reservoirs may have increased capacity. Future reservoir-scale modeling efforts should incorporate sensitivity to relative permeability. Assuming applicability of the experimental results to other lithologies and that the majority of reservoirs are pressure limited, geologic carbon sequestration would require approximately twice the number of wells for the same injectivity.
    Environmental Science & Technology 11/2013; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is attributed to rising consumption of fossil fuels around the world. The development of solutions to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere is one of the most urgent needs of today’s society. CO2 injection into geological formations is one of the CO2 storage options with a large capacity. If non-carbonate minerals such as basalt and olivine exist in the CO2 injection site, the injected CO2 can react with those minerals to form thermodynamically stable solid carbonates. In nature, mineral carbonation takes place via dissolution of the mineral to release Ca/Mg ions followed by precipitation of Ca/Mg in the presence of CO2. The rate limiting step of this carbon mineralization process is considered to be the dissolution of the mineral.A question has been raised regarding the effect of in-situ carbon mineralization on the stability of the geologic storage of CO2. Both the kinetics and extents of mineral dissolution and carbonation reactions within the geological reservoir are important factors to evaluate for the long term stability of the geologically injected CO2.Therefore, this work focuses on understanding CO2-mineral-water interactions at a wide range of reaction conditions (Tmax = 200­oC and PCO2, max = 200 bar). Both deionized water and synthetic brine were used as the aqueous reaction media. Minerals such as olivine (Mg2SiO4), labradorite ((Ca,Na)(Al,Si)4O8) and basalt (mixture of silicate minerals), were selected based on their abundance in nature and both dissolution and single-step carbonation experiments were performed to investigate fast and long-term kinetics of mineral weathering. Two different regimes (i.e., surface reaction vs. mass transfer limited regimes) of mineral weathering were identified based on the analyses of the activation energy and reaction kinetics.
    12 AIChE Annual Meeting; 10/2012
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    ABSTRACT: CO(2) capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to develop into an important tool to address climate change. Given society's present reliance on fossil fuels, widespread adoption of CCS appears indispensable for meeting stringent climate targets. We argue that for conventional CCS to become a successful climate mitigation technology--which by necessity has to operate on a large scale--it may need to be complemented with air capture, removing CO(2) directly from the atmosphere. Air capture of CO(2) could act as insurance against CO(2) leaking from storage and furthermore may provide an option for dealing with emissions from mobile dispersed sources such as automobiles and airplanes.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2012; 109(33):13156-62. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the primary objectives for secure CO2 geologic storage is identifying suitable locations and developing accurate formation evaluation. Borehole geophysics provides a set of effective techniques for reservoir and seal characterization at an intermediate scale, filling the gap between large-scale surface surveys and core-scale analysis. In this study we analyze borehole geophysical logs obtained for small-scale CO2 injection experiments in northeastern Newark basin, transecting Jurassic igneous intrusion (the Palisades sill) and Triassic lacustrine sediments that both contain fractured-rock intervals. We present new insights into the Newark basin stratigraphy and aquifer properties based on these borehole data and discuss the advantages and limitations of various logging methods for characterization of fractured reservoirs and seals. High-resolution logging data have been obtained over a 1500-ft interval in the well, including caliper, apparent resistivity, gamma ray, and temperature logs, flowmeter measurements and optical and acoustic televiewer images. Rock chips were recovered during drilling, but no coring was done. We analyze these data with a specific focus on reservoir and seal properties in the fractured sedimentary intervals. Electrical, acoustic, and nuclear logs are used to evaluate porosity and identify potential injection reservoirs and impermeable cap rocks. Sharp changes in borehole fluid resistivity and temperature gradient indicate several conductive zones potentially suitable for fluid injection and are confirmed by flowemeter and hydraulic experiments. Analysis of high-quality optical borehole televiewer (OTV) images provides structural information about sedimentary bedding and fracture distribution. The layers dip in northwestern direction at about 10-degree angle. Combined with drill cuttings, OTV images also allow for reconstruction of a complete lithologic profile. OTV images reveal two sets of fractures, mostly dominated by large-aperture high-angle fractures, but they are not directly correlated with hydraulically conductive zones. Some of the most prominent fractures are obvious flow pathways, while others are less conductive, and a few do not exhibit any flow at all. The high-angle fractures strike predominantly in NE-SW direction, consistent with an extensional stress regime generated during initial rifting of the Newark basin. Conductive zones are separated by relatively thick intervals of low-porosity unfractured siltstone that can potentially serve as caprock for injected fluids.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Potential leakage of CO2 from deep intervals used for geological sequestration to shallow aquifers can have important negative impacts on drinking water resources, thus it is very important to understand the biogeochemical response to elevated CO2 plumes and develop diagnostic monitoring systems. An experimental injection, composed of one atmosphere partial pressure CO2, was conducted in fracture zones in a sand and clay aquifer in the Newark Basin and incubated for three weeks. The geophysical logging of the borehole and tracer tests using bromide and SF6 indicated a weak background ambient flow in the aquifer. Monitoring of groundwater parameters showed a decrease of pH from 8.2 to 6.1, in addition to silicate and carbonate dissolution, and the release of 16 trace metals, including iron, manganese, cobalt, zinc, nickel, and uranium. Changes in bacterial abundance and community diversity were also tracked in parallel with geochemical transitions. A bench incubation experiment in the laboratory has been designed to compare the mineral dissolution and trace metal release rates, as well as the microbial community' response to 1 and 5 bars of pCO2 under anaerobic and aerobic conditions. This research will provide criteria for site selection for geological CO2 sequestration, investigate the vulnerability of shallow aquifers to CO2 leakage, and develop the diagnostic testing techniques to assess risk.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Carbon dioxide is naturally captured and stored in mantle peridotite in two forms: travertine deposits on the surface and carbonate-filled veins in the subsurface. Both are the product of near-surface reactions of CO2-bearing fluids with peridotite in an open and closed system reaction path. As originally discussed by Barnes and O'Neil [1], meteoric water infiltrates and reacts with peridotite in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2, resulting in increasing Mg, Ca and SiO2 concentrations. Further reaction with peridotite at closed system conditions leads to the precipitation of Mg-carbonates and serpentine. The resulting alkaline Ca-OH water absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and precipitates calcite as travertine deposits when it exits the peridotite as spring water. In order to evaluate the potential of enhancing peridotite carbonation, we have to better understand the processes that occur along the reaction path, and the time scales involved in these processes. For the past few years we have been investigating natural CO2 mineralization in the peridotite of the Samail Ophiolite in northern Oman. We have obtained fluid and rock samples for chemical and isotopic analysis from at least 15 active alkaline spring systems. Concerning the residence time of groundwater along the reaction path, measured tritium concentrations in shallow groundwater and alkaline spring water range from 1.4-2.6 and 0.05-0.15 TU, respectively. Alkaline spring waters with values close to the detection limit (<0.005 TU) are considered sub-modern or older (recharged prior to 1952), whereas the shallow groundwater is most likely a mixture between sub-modern and modern recharge. Recently analyzed 14CDIC data support the tritium data. An additional indicator of the circulation path of groundwater in the peridotite is temperature measurements of the spring water. They are within a few degrees of the mean annual air temperature of Oman, which does not indicate deep circulation of the alkaline water. In the natural system, decreasing magnesium and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations indicate precipitation of Mg-carbonates along the reaction flow path. This coincides with more negative δ13CDIC values along the reaction path from the shallow groundwater to the alkaline spring water. The highly depleted δ13CDIC signature of alkaline spring water may be caused by a kinetic fractionation effect, which occurs during diffusion of gaseous CO2 into a solution [e.g. 2, 3]. This occurs when alkaline spring water comes in contact with atmospheric CO2 in the unsaturated zone or when it exits the peridotite. Thus, the CO2 mineralization in the Samail Ophiolite is limited by the infiltration rate of CO2 saturated meteoric water as well as by the CO2 dissolution rate into alkaline spring water. Based on our data, the natural rate of carbonation is ~5x104 tons of carbonate per year [4]. This natural carbonation mechanism has to be accelerated to have a significant impact in mitigating rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Several options, including injection of high-PCO2 aqueous fluid into preheated peridotite will be presented and discussed. [1] Barnes and O'Neil, 1969; [2] Clark et al., 1992; [3] Wilson et al., 2010 [4] Kelemen and Matter, 2008.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 01/2011; 1:01.
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    ABSTRACT: Near-surface reaction of CO2-bearing fluids with silicate minerals in peridotite and basalt forms solid carbonate minerals. Such processes form abundant veins and travertine deposits, particularly in association with tectonically exposed mantle peridotite. This is important in the global carbon cycle, in weathering, and in understanding physical-chemical interaction during retrograde metamorphism. Enhancing the rate of such reactions is a proposed method for geologic CO2 storage, and perhaps for direct capture of CO2 from near-surface fluids. We review, synthesize, and extend inferences from a variety of sources. We include data from studies on natural peridotite carbonation processes, carbonation kinetics, feedback between permeability and volume change via reaction-driven cracking, and proposed methods for enhancing the rate of natural mineral carbonation via in situ processes ("at the outcrop") rather than ex situ processes ("at the smokestack").
    Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 01/2011; 39:545-576. · 8.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mantle peridotite section of the Samail Ophiolite in the Sultanate of Oman is a site of exceptionally well-developed, naturally occurring in situ CO2 mineralization and serves as a natural analog to an enhanced process. The evolution of groundwater along the CO2 mineralization pathway in ultramafic rocks is generally thought to follow a progression from surface water to shallow Mg-HCO3 groundwater to deep, alkaline Ca-OH groundwater [e.g., 1-3], but the timescale for this evolution is not known. In order to assess the prospects for an enhanced CO2 mineralization process, we must first have a better understanding of the time necessary to attain natural CO2 mineralization, as well as the rate-limiting factors for the natural process. To that end, a reactive transport model was developed to simulate water-rock interaction during the natural CO2 mineralization process in the peridotite of the Samail Ophiolite aquifer. The model was created using the geochemical code EQ3/6 v.8.0 4, and it tracks a two stage process in which surface water first interacts with peridotite in a shallow aquifer open to atmosphere, and then progresses to a closed system in which the water interacts with peridotite isolated from the atmosphere. The incorporation of dissolution kinetics for the primary minerals in peridotite allowed for an estimate of the time required for water to evolve to the extent seen in the field. Model results suggest that it may take less than 50 years to develop the shallow Mg-HCO3 water, but up to 5,600 years to form the deeper, alkaline Ca-OH water. Rock and water chemistry collected from the Samail Ophiolite and its aquifer were used to calibrate the model. The modeled water chemistry is in agreement with that seen in the field, suggesting that the model offers a fair representation of the natural CO2 mineralization process. The natural system model indicates that CO2 availability is the limiting factor for mineralization in the subsurface, so the model was expanded to include CO2 injection scenarios to determine if increasing the supply could enhance the rate of CO2 mineralization. Model results show that CO2 injection at 100 bar pCO2 and ambient temperature (30oC) would result in a 40x increase in CO2 mineralization over a 30 year period, while injection at 90oC would result in a 3,600x increase in mineralization. Thus far, these model results do not include hydrogeological parameters for the system. Porosity and permeability, and their change with secondary mineralization, may affect the injectivity of CO2 into the aquifer, so they should be included when modeling CO2 injection. However, permeability and porosity in fractured rock aquifers are notoriously complex and remain poorly constrained for the peridotite of the Samail Ophiolite; these parameters warrant further study prior to their inclusion in a model. Results from permeability tests on peridotite cores from the Samail Ophiolite will be presented, with emphasis on how these measurements contribute to our understanding of the potential for enhanced CO2 mineralization in the peridotite of the Samail Ophiolite aquifer. 1Barnes and O'Neil, 1969; 2Stanger, 1986; 3Bruni et al., 2002; 4Wolery and Jarek, 2003
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 01/2011; 1:0959.
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    ABSTRACT: Industrial scale injection of anthropogenic carbon dioxide into the crustal lithosphere has been proposed to reduce atmospheric accumulation. Much of this injection is expected to occur in saline reservoirs. An understanding of two-phase brine- CO2 flow is necessary for predicting storage capacity, fluid migration, and injectivity in geologic reservoirs. Additionally, the chemical reactivity of the rock matrix with CO2(l) affects the transport properties of the rock. A flow system for measuring two-phase transport of CO2 and brine is presented in this paper. The system is capable of displacing brine with either liquid or supercritical CO2. Special effort was taken to circumvent capillary end-effects in these experiments. Drainage end point relative permeability of CO2 displacing brine is found to be in the range of 0.34–0.44, much lower than what is expected for a nonwetting fluid. Such low relative permeabilities would tend to decrease injectivity while increasing displacement efficiency.
    Energy Procedia 01/2011; 4:4347-4353.
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    ABSTRACT: In situ mineral carbonation is facilitated by aqueous-phase chemical reactions with dissolved CO2. Evidence from the laboratory and the field shows that the limiting factors for in situ mineral carbonation are the dissolution rate of CO2 into the aqueous phase and the release rate of divalent cations from basic silicate minerals. Up to now, pilot CO2 storage projects and commercial operations have focused on the injection and storage of anthropogenic CO2 as a supercritical phase in depleted oil and gas reservoirs or deep saline aquifers with limited potential for CO2 mineralization. The CarbFix Pilot Project will test the feasibility of in situ mineral carbonation in basaltic rocks as a way to permanently and safely store CO2. The test includes the capture of CO2 flue gas from the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant and the injection of 2200 tons of CO2 per year, fully dissolved in water, at the CarbFix pilot injection site in SW Iceland. This paper describes the design of the CO2 injection test and the novel approach for monitoring and verification of CO2 mineralization in the subsurface by tagging the injected CO2 with radiocarbon (14C), and using SF5CF3 and amidorhodamine G as conservative tracers to monitor the transport of the injected CO2 charged water.
    Energy Procedia 01/2011; 4:5579-5585.
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    ABSTRACT: The Samail Ophiolite aquifer in the Sultanate of Oman is a site of exceptionally well-developed naturally occurring in situ CO2 mineralization, and serves as a natural analog for an engineered CO2 sequestration process. Natural processes within the aquifer can be described by the following reactions [e.g.1,2]: near the surface, infiltrating rainwater dissolves peridotite, increasing dissolved Mg, Ca, and Si; interaction with soil CO2 and carbonate rocks and dust further increases Ca and dissolved C. At deeper levels, groundwater is cut off from the atmosphere-and hence its CO2 source- but continues to dissolve peridotite, and precipitates serpentine, magnesite, and dolomite. The resulting water has a high Ca-OH concentration, essentially no Mg or dissolved C, and ultrabasic pH. When this alkaline water reaches the shallow subsurface or surface, it mixes with CO2-saturated shallow groundwater or absorbs CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Dissolved C reacts with Ca to precipitate calcite on the surface, lowering the pH to basic. This process forms abundant carbonate minerals, both in the subsurface and in surficial travertine terraces. Water chemistry data can be used to determine the amount of CO2 sequestered. The quantity of CO2 mineralized at the surface as CaCO3 can be calculated from the removal of Ca from alkaline water once it discharges at springs, assuming CaCO3 precipitation is the only surficial Ca sink. Water samples from 22 alkaline spring outlets and 16 surface water bodies were used to calculate the average decrease in Ca and increase in TIC as alkaline spring water discharges and flows along the surface, losing its high pH and converting to basic surface water; the values are 1.26 mmol/L Ca and 3.13 mmol/L TIC, respectively. The increase in TIC can be attributed to absorption of atmospheric CO2. In regions with known flow rates, it is possible to determine the total amount of CO2 mineralized annually. For example, near Masibt where the flow rate of a single spring is 3x107 L/yr, the annual loss of Ca is 3.8x104 moles/yr and the amount of CO2 mineralized as CaCO3 by that spring is 0.85 kg/yr. Over 70 alkaline springs have been mapped throughout the Samail Ophiolite3, and doubtless many more exist. At the surface, Ca availability limits carbonate mineral formation; however, in the subsurface, dissolved CO2 must be the limiting species. TIC decreases from 3.24 mmol/L in shallow groundwater to 0.27 mmol/L in alkaline springs. The loss of 2.96 mmol/L TIC likely occurs by magnesite precipitation, meaning that this amount of CO2 is mineralized in the subsurface. If the availability of dissolved CO2 is the limiting factor in mineralization by the Samail Ophiolite aquifer, it may be possible to engineer the system to increase the rate of sequestration by injecting CO2 into the aquifer. To simulate the outcome of such an engineered system, data from the natural system have been incorporated into a reactive transport model. Results of this simulation will be presented. 1Barnes and O'Neil, 1969; 2Bruni et al., 2002; 3Stanger, 1986
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The overall objective of the CarbFix project is to develop and optimize a practical and cost-effective technology for capturing CO2 and storing it via in situ mineral carbonation in basaltic rocks, as well as to train young scientist to carry the corresponding knowledge into the future. The project consists of a field injection of CO2 charged water at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in SW Iceland, laboratory experiments, numerical reactive transport modeling, tracer tests, natural analogue and cost analysis. The CO2 injection site is situated about 3 km south of the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. Reykjavik Energy operates the power plant, which currently produces 60,000 tons/year CO2 of magmatic origin. The produced geothermal gas mainly consists of CO2 and H2S. The two gases will be separated in a pilot gas treatment plant, and CO2 will be transported in a pipeline to the injection site. There, CO2 will be fully dissolved in 20 - 25°C water during injection at 25 - 30 bar pressure, resulting in a single fluid phase entering the storage formation, which consists of relatively fresh basaltic lavas. The CO2 charged water is reactive and will dissolve divalent cations from the rock, which will combine with the dissolved carbon to form solid thermodynamically stable carbonate minerals. The injection test is designed to inject 2200 tons of CO2 per year. In the past three years the CarbFix project has been addressing background fluid chemistries at the injection site and characterizing the target reservoir for the planned CO2 injection. Numerous groundwater samples have been collected and analysed. A monitoring and accounting plan has been developed, which integrates surface, subsurface and atmospheric monitoring. A weather station is operating at the injection site for continuous monitoring of atmospheric CO2 and to track all key parameters for the injection. Environmental authorities have granted licenses for the CO2 injection and the use of tracers, based on the monitoring plan. Pipelines, injection and monitoring wells have been installed and equipment test runs are in the final phase. A bailer has been constructed to be used to retrieve samples at reservoir conditions. Hydrological parameters of a three dimensional field model have been calibrated and reactive transport simulations are ongoing. The key risks that the project is currently facing are technical and financial. Until now the project has been facing incidences that have already impacted the time schedule in the CarbFix project. Furthermore the project is facing world-wide exchange rate uncertainty plus the inherited uncertainty that innovative research projects contain. However, the CarbFix group remains optimistic that injection will start in near future.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The standard approach to geologic sequestration is the injection of CO2 as a bulk phase into storage reservoirs at depths >800m where it is buoyant with respect to the host rocks and aqueous fluids, and may migrate upward thereby reducing the storage efficiency. The CarbFix pilot project in Iceland tests the feasibility of an alternative storage approach, which is the mineralization of CO2 into stable carbonate minerals through the reaction with basaltic rocks [1]. The mineralization of CO2 is facilitated by the dissolution of CO2 gas into the aqueous phase. Therefore, CarbFix will inject the CO2 fully dissolved in water. Dissolution will occur within the injection well, where water and CO2 are simultaneously injected. A downscaled version of the CarbFix injection system was designed in the laboratory and used to study the dissolution kinetics of CO2 gas bubbles in a water column while injection took place. The injection system consisted of 100 m long ~1 cm inner diameter inner braided PVC tubing, which was deployed in a staircase of a 60m tall building. The tubing was intersected with a series of 10 cm long sections of clear tubing (windows) every eight meters in order to detect the number of bubbles in the flow with a digital camera equipped with a flash system. As CO2 gas was injected through a sparger into the water stream at a constant rate, gas bubbles were created, with bubble size and density decreasing along the vertical flow path, as the CO2 dissolved. The number and volume of gas bubbles were estimated from the digital images taken at each window. Various devices that were supposed to facilitate the dissolution of CO2 were tested. The pressure change due to elevation change and frictional effects was calculated using the Darcy-Weisbach equation and the amount of CO2 per bubble in each window was approximated using the van der Waals equation of state for real gases. The experimental results reveal that bubble size and density decrease along the flow path as expected. However, the rate of dissolution decreased along the flow path with bubbles dissolving rapidly initially and extremely slow afterwards. As the bubbles decrease in size, they become harder to dissolve, due to effects of rigidity of the gas-liquid interface and the presence of impurities in the water and the gas. Only with one of the devices tested, the gas gas achieved fully dissolution. In the rest of the cases, the existence of CO2 bubbles at the end of the tubing demonstrated that CO2 did not fully dissolve, which is a design requirement for the dissolved CO2 injection system, since small gas bubbles can coalesce to larger more buoyant bubbles posing a leakage risk. Only the deployment of an active mixer resulted in virtually complete dissolution at the end of the 100m flow path. Gislason et al. (2010) Mineral sequestration of carbon dioxide in basalt: A pre-injection overview of the CarbFix project. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 4, 3, 537-545.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Carbonate minerals provide a long-lasting, thermodynamically stable and environmentally benign carbon storage host. Mineral storage is in most cases the end product of geological seqestration of CO2. The degree to which mineral storage is significant and the rate at which mineralization occurs depend on the rock type and injection methods. The rates could be enhanced by injecting CO2 fully dissolved in water and/or by injection into silicate rocks rich in divalent metal cations such as basalts and ultra-mafic rocks. The CarbFix project (Gislason et al. 2009; www.carbfix.com) aims at mineral sequestration of carbon in southwest Iceland early 2010. Carbon dioxide, fully dissolved in water, will be injected into basaltic rocks at about 500 m depth. The initial test injection will be 0.07 kg/s of CO2 dissolved in 2 kg/s of water. If successful, the experiment will be up-scaled. Conservative tracers and 14C labelled CO2 will be mixed into the injected gas and water stream to monitor the subsurface transport and to constrain the carbonate mass balance. The CO2 gas will be pumped into the injection well, at 25 bar CO2 pressure at about 300 m depth. The pH of the water after dissolution at 25 bar in-situ partial pressure of CO2 is estimated to be 3.7 and the dissolved inorganic carbon concentration (DIC) to be ~1 mol/kg. As the CO2 charged waters percolate through the rock the dissolution of mafic minerals and glass will consume the protons provided by the carbonic acid. Concomitantly, the concentration of dissolved elements will increase and alteration minerals form, resulting in mineral fixation of carbon. References. Gislason S. R., D. Wolff-Boenisch, A. Stefansson, E. H. Oelkers, E. Gunnlaugsson, H. Sigurdardottir, B. Sigfusson, W. S. Broecker, J. M. Matter, M. Stute, G. Axelsson and Th. Fridriksson (2009). Mineral sequestration of carbon dioxide in basalt: A pre-injection overview of the CarbFix project. Int. J. Greenhouse Gas Control, (in press) doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2009.11.013
    04/2010; 12:4378.
  • Geochim Cosmochim Acta. 01/2010; 74(12):A504.

Publication Stats

305 Citations
78.54 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2014
    • Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University
      New York City, New York, United States
    • ETH Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2008–2010
    • Columbia University
      • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
      New York City, NY, United States