Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Geologists Testing Aquifer Rocks as Containers to Permanently Trap Carbon Dioxide

Two Kansas State University geologists are part of a comprehensive statewide study on using rocks for long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is a byproduct of respiration and burning fossil fuels and heat sources, among other causes. Studies have linked increased carbon dioxide production to climate change.

"Currently, more carbon dioxide is being produced by various sources, both natural and anthropogenic, and is going into the atmosphere," said Saugata Datta, assistant professor of geology who is leading the university's involvement in the project. "This study is not to look at what carbon dioxide does to the atmosphere, but rather how to sequester it and keep it from reaching the atmosphere in the first place."

Datta and Robin Barker, master's student in geology, Arnoldsville, Ga., are studying the geochemical effectiveness of trapping and storing carbon dioxide by injecting it more than 5,000 feet underground in the Arbuckle aquifer under Kansas. The aquifer has a thick layer of porous rock that scientists believe could permanently store carbon dioxide. It also contains groundwater with such high salt concentrations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed it unsafe to drink.

According to Datta, determining whether the rocks of the Arbuckle are effective for permanently storing carbon dioxide could be beneficial to manufacturing and production industries, which currently monitor carbon dioxide production levels due to regulations.

The aquifer is one of 10 throughout the nation that is being studied. Scientists from other national institutions and universities are conducting similar projects in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The study at Kansas State University is threefold. For the first portion -- already in progress -- Datta and Barker are using water and rock core samples from the aquifer to look at the mineralogical composition of deep formation waters and rock, as well as how they interact. Ion chromotography and mass spectrometers are being used to study the organic and inorganic components of the water.

"We're essentially tearing apart a drop of water for analysis," Datta said. "Water is a really great indicator of what's going on in the subsurface. It also indicated delicately what can happen in the subsurface after injection of carbon dioxide. By studying it, we can understand where it comes from, how the change in environment from adding carbon dioxide affected it and what will happen over a long period of time."

The second phase centers on storage -- injecting carbon dioxide into aquifer rocks. Researchers are using drill core samples collected from the aquifer, along with brine and carbon dioxide, to geochemically model what happens when carbon dioxide is injected into the aquifer rocks. With this, researchers can look at what happens to the groundwater before, during and after the carbon dioxide injection. Additionally, they can predict what will happen to the stored carbon dioxide decades into the future.

"We're really looking into the geochemical feasibility of this as a solution," Barker said. "So far, the preliminary conclusion is that geochemically, it appears that we will be able to safely sequester the carbon dioxide in the aquifer without affecting any drinking water sources."

The project will enter its third phase beginning January 2013 with a large-scale experiment in Wellington. Researchers will inject 40,000 metric tons of compressed carbon dioxide 5,000 feet below the Arbuckle aquifer and 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into an overlying oil reservoir. Various sampling techniques will be used to study and model the carbon dioxide and its lifespan in the aquifer.

"It has already been proven that certain minerals within rocks, such as silicates, are able to trap carbon dioxide and transform it into a solid mineral," Datta said. "Ultimately what that means is that once the carbon dioxide is trapped as a mineral, there is very little chance of it being dissolved and being released into the atmosphere. This is essentially locking it up forever."

The injection test will continue until May 14, 2014.

In addition to Kansas State University, scientists collaborating on the Kansas project are from: the Kansas Geological Survey, headed by Lynn Watney, geoscientist and project manager; University of Kansas; Wichita-based BEREXCO Inc.; Lawrence Berkley National Laboratories; and Sandia Technologies. Each institution is looking at a different aspect of the carbon dioxide sequestration, such as drilling and evaluating wells; monitoring the carbon dioxide plume; injecting carbon dioxide in an oil reservoir to test oil recovery; and ensuring containment of the carbon dioxide from leaking to surface aquifers.

Carbon dioxide will be transported by Abengoa Biofuels from an ethanol plant in nearby Colwich.

For its portion, Kansas State University was awarded four separate grants from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling more than $800,000 throughout the course of the study.

The project will end, and results will be released, in 2015.

Saugata Datta, 785-532-2241,

Saugata Datta | Newswise Science News
Further information:

Further reports about: Aquifer Geologist Permanently Rocks carbon dioxide dioxide oil reservoir trap water source

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>