A group led by NETL researchers not too long ago launched airborne technologies at a industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) geological storage web site in Mississippi to comprehensive a very first-of-its-sort electromagnetic survey and gather information required to monitor greenhouse gases sequestered in the subsurface.

Deep underground CO2 storage is a significant element in the country’s efforts to attain a one hundred% carbon-cost-free electrical energy sector by 2035 and net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and stop the catastrophic influence of climate adjust.

Having said that, massive-scale carbon sequestration requires to be very carefully monitored to assure that the greenhouse gas does not escape from the bedrock and seep to the surface or contaminate underground aquifers that provide drinking water.

To create an helpful monitoring tool, the NETL-led group tested a superconducting quantum interference device (SKUID) magnetometer at the Kemper Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) web site. The blimp-shaped device, employed by business to come across diamonds and other worthwhile minerals in the subsurface, was attached to a helicopter and flown more than a mainly forested region in east-central Mississippi (see video of the SQUID magnetometer takeoff).

The SQUID magnetometer can detect magnetic fields of particularly modest magnitude. Detection and evaluation of these measured geophysical information can assistance researchers recognize geological characteristics and document adjustments when CO2 is injected.

The testing completed in Mississippi will also assistance the group, which involves NETL researchers Rick Hammack and Colton Konke and project partners from the Colorado College of Mines and Dias Geophysical, figure out irrespective of whether airborne electromagnetic surveys offer you an helpful, reduced-price option for monitoring carbon storage . web-sites.

If profitable, the technologies will confirm earlier efforts to characterize the subsurface and create baseline measurements and subsurface representations. In addition, aerial surveys can help underground storage operators in their efforts to monitor the movement of CO2 plumes. CO2 injected underground creates a cloud, which increases inside the reservoir till the injection is comprehensive. Internet site operators monitor plume movement to assure sequester integrity.

A series of flights more than the web site of the ECO2S CarbonSAFE project have been carried out. The very first involved utilizing magnetometers to measure organic electrical currents in the subsurface as effectively as man-produced electromagnetic noise. The collected information can be employed to figure out the place of salt water, the thickness of rock layers, cracks and other underground characteristics.

For other tests, the group ran an electrical existing up a five-meter-lengthy grounded dipole antenna that was oriented either north/south or east/west. Two antenna orientations have been employed to radiate electromagnetic power into the subsurface even though the magnetometer flew more than the test region following a north-south grid pattern.

All flights have been undertaken to create baseline photos of the subsurface for comparison with information collected following CO2 is injected into the subsurface. Flights involving the use of a liquid helium-cooled SQUID magnetometer are a new application for monitoring the overall performance of industrial-scale carbon storage operations.

“This was the very first survey of its sort to gather field measurements from a possible carbon storage web site utilizing a new generation SKUID magnetic receiver on a helicopter,” Hammack stated.

Airborne electromagnetic surveys can offer you a more affordable option for precise assessment of characteristics in the subsurface.

At present, vibroseis trucks are normally employed to produce seismic waves by shaking the surface. Geophones are placed to acquire the reflected underground seismic signal from the truck and transmit the information to measuring instruments positioned nearby. This strategy is costly and a more affordable option is required to image subsurface CO2 clouds.

Airborne electromagnetic surveys call for substantially much less time and can be accomplished at a reduced price. In addition, aerial surveys eradicate the will need to negotiate agreements with landowners to bring gear to the web site when the survey is to be completed.

Coarse sand at the ECO2S CarbonSAFE project web site has fantastic porosity and permeability. “It is a really excellent carbon storage web site that can be enhanced by utilizing this new tool to closely monitor the behavior of CO2 in the subsurface,” Hammack stated.

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

NETL drives innovation and delivers technologies options for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous power future. Working with its planet-class talent and investigation capabilities, NETL supplies economical, abundant and reputable power that drives a robust economy and national safety, even though creating technologies to handle carbon all through the life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.

By Editor

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