Sat. May 27th, 2023

A group led by NETL researchers lately launched airborne technologies at a industrial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic storage web-site in Mississippi to total a initially-of-its-type electromagnetic survey and gather information required to monitor greenhouse gas sequestered in the subsurface.

Deep underground storage of CO2 is a key element in the nation’s efforts to attain a one hundred% carbon emission-totally free electrical energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and avoid the disastrous influence of climate transform.

On the other hand, massive-scale carbon sequestration requires to be closely monitored to guarantee the greenhouse gas does not escape the protective layer of cap rock and leak to the surface or contaminate underground aquifers that provide drinking water.

To create an productive monitoring tool, the NETL-led group tested a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometerat the Kemper Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) web-site. The blimp-shaped device, which has been made use of by business to uncover diamonds and other beneficial minerals in the subsurface, was tethered to a helicopter and flown more than the mainly forested location in east-central Mississippi (verify out the SQUID magnetometer liftoff video).

The SQUID magnetometer can detect magnetic fields of really low magnitude. Detection and evaluation of this measured geophysical information can support researchers recognize geological options and document alterations when CO2 is injected.

The testing completed in Mississippi will also support the group, which integrated NETL researchers Rick Hammack and Colton Kohnke and project partners from the Colorado College of Mines and Dias Geophysical, identify if airborne electromagnetic surveys provide an productive, reduced-expense answer for monitoring carbon storage web pages.

If thriving, the technologies will verify previous subsurface characterization efforts and create baseline measurements and subsurface representations. In addition, the airborne surveys may perhaps help operators of underground storage web pages in their efforts to monitor CO2 plume movement. The CO2 injected into the subsurface creates a plume, which enlarges inside the reservoir till injection is total. Website operators monitor the movement of the plume to guarantee the integrity of the sequestration.

A series of flights had been created more than the Project ECO2S CarbonSAFE web-site. The initially involved employing the magnetometer to measure naturally occurring electrical currents in the subsurface and also man-created electromagnetic noise. The information collected can be made use of to identify the place of brine, the thickness of rock layers, fractures and other subsurface options.

For other tests, the group ran electric present to a five-meter-extended grounded dipole antenna that was oriented either in a north/south path or in an east/west path. The two antenna orientations had been made use of to radiate electromagnetic power into the subsurface whilst the magnetometer was flown more than the test location following a north-to-south grid pattern.

All flights had been undertaken to make baseline representations of the subsurface for comparison with information to be collected immediately after CO2 is injected into the subsurface. The flights involving the use of a liquid-helium-cooled SQUID magnetometer are a novel application for monitoring the efficiency of industrial-scale carbon storage operations.  

“This was a initially-of-its-type survey to gather field measurements from a possible carbon storage web-site employing a subsequent-generation SQUID magnetic receiver on a helicopter,” Hammack stated.  

Airborne electromagnetic surveys may perhaps provide a reduced-expense option to accurately estimate options in the subsurface.

At the moment, vibroseis trucks are frequently made use of to produce seismic waves by shaking the surface. Geophones are positioned to get the reflected subsurface seismic signal from the truck and transmit the information to measuring instruments situated nearby.  This strategy is costly, and a more affordable answer to image subsurface CO2 plumes is required. 

Airborne electromagnetic surveys need far much less time and can be completed at reduced expense. Plus, airborne surveys do away with the require to negotiate agreements with landowners to bring gear to a web-site when a survey requires to be completed.

The coarse sand inside the Project ECO2S CarbonSAFE web-site possesses exceptional porosity and permeability. “It’s a pretty excellent web-site for carbon storage that can be sophisticated employing this new tool to closely monitor CO2 behavior in the subsurface,” Hammack stated.

“The subsequent stage in the improvement of the technologies will concentrate on comparing information from our testing in Mississippi with the airborne magnetometer against effectively logs and other information in the location to see how they match up,” Kohnke stated.

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological options for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous power future. By employing its globe-class talent and investigation facilities, NETL is making certain very affordable, abundant and trustworthy power that drives a robust economy and national safety, whilst creating technologies to handle carbon across the complete life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.

By Editor