A group led by NETL researchers lately launched airborne expertise at a commercial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic storage web site in Mississippi to finish a first-of-its-kind electromagnetic survey and gather information wanted to observe greenhouse gasoline sequestered within the subsurface.

Deep underground storage of CO2 is a serious element within the nation’s efforts to realize a 100% carbon emission-free electrical energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero carbon financial system by 2050 and stop the disastrous affect of local weather change.

Nonetheless, large-scale carbon sequestration must be intently monitored to make sure the greenhouse gasoline doesn’t escape the protecting layer of cap rock and leak to the floor or contaminate underground aquifers that provide ingesting water.

To develop an efficient monitoring software, the NETL-led group examined a superconducting quantum interference machine (SQUID) magnetometerat the Kemper Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) web site. The blimp-shaped machine, which has been utilized by business to seek out diamonds and different useful minerals within the subsurface, was tethered to a helicopter and flown over the principally forested space in east-central Mississippi (try the SQUID magnetometer liftoff video).

The SQUID magnetometer can detect magnetic fields of extraordinarily low magnitude. Detection and evaluation of this measured geophysical information may help researchers establish geological options and doc adjustments when CO2 is injected.

The testing accomplished in Mississippi can even assist the group, which included NETL researchers Rick Hammack and Colton Kohnke and challenge companions from the Colorado Faculty of Mines and Dias Geophysical, decide if airborne electromagnetic surveys supply an efficient, lower-cost resolution for monitoring carbon storage websites.

If profitable, the expertise will confirm earlier subsurface characterization efforts and develop baseline measurements and subsurface representations. As well as, the airborne surveys might help operators of underground storage websites of their efforts to observe CO2 plume motion. The CO2 injected into the subsurface creates a plume, which enlarges throughout the reservoir till injection is full. Website operators monitor the motion of the plume to make sure the integrity of the sequestration.

A sequence of flights have been revamped the Mission ECO2S CarbonSAFE web site. The primary concerned utilizing the magnetometer to measure naturally occurring electrical currents within the subsurface and in addition man-made electromagnetic noise. The information collected can be utilized to find out the situation of brine, the thickness of rock layers, fractures and different subsurface options.

For different checks, the group ran electrical present to a 5-meter-long grounded dipole antenna that was oriented both in a north/south course or in an east/west course. The 2 antenna orientations have been used to radiate electromagnetic vitality into the subsurface whereas the magnetometer was flown over the check space following a north-to-south grid sample.

All flights have been undertaken to supply baseline representations of the subsurface for comparability with information to be collected after CO2 is injected into the subsurface. The flights involving the usage of a liquid-helium-cooled SQUID magnetometer are a novel software for monitoring the efficiency of commercial-scale carbon storage operations.  

“This was a first-of-its-kind survey to gather subject measurements from a possible carbon storage web site utilizing a next-generation SQUID magnetic receiver on a helicopter,” Hammack stated.  

Airborne electromagnetic surveys might supply a lower-cost different to precisely estimate options within the subsurface.

At present, vibroseis vans are sometimes used to generate seismic waves by shaking the floor. Geophones are positioned to obtain the mirrored subsurface seismic sign from the truck and transmit the info to measuring devices situated close by.  This system is pricey, and a less expensive resolution to picture subsurface CO2 plumes is required. 

Airborne electromagnetic surveys require far much less time and might be accomplished at decrease price. Plus, airborne surveys remove the necessity to negotiate agreements with landowners to carry tools to a web site when a survey must be accomplished.

The coarse sand throughout the Mission ECO2S CarbonSAFE web site possesses glorious porosity and permeability. “It’s an excellent web site for carbon storage that may be superior utilizing this new software to intently monitor CO2 habits within the subsurface,” Hammack stated.

“The subsequent stage within the improvement of the expertise will give attention to evaluating information from our testing in Mississippi with the airborne magnetometer in opposition to effectively logs and different information within the space to see how they match up,” Kohnke stated.

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological options for an environmentally sustainable and affluent vitality future. By utilizing its world-class expertise and analysis amenities, NETL is guaranteeing inexpensive, plentiful and dependable vitality that drives a strong financial system and nationwide safety, whereas growing applied sciences to handle carbon throughout the complete life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all People.

By Editor