Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pilot plant for the removal of extreme gas charges from deep waters installed

22.12.2014

Being part of the mining area Herrerias in Andalusia, deep waters of Pit Lake Guadiana show extremely high concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2). In the case of a spontaneous ebullition, human beings close-by would be jeopardized.

To demonstrate the danger and the possible solution, scientists of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU, Bilbao) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) constructed a pilot plant for degassing. A fountain pulls deep water through a pipe to the surface, where the gas can escape from the water. The buoyancy produced by the bubbles provides the energy required for driving the flow.


Pit Lake Guadiana in the former mining area Herrerias in Andalusia, Spain. Photo: Bertram Boehrer/UFZ

The website for the press release (incl. photo) can be found at

http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=33433  


„The deep water in the residual lake Guadiana contains an extremely high volume of carbon dioxide (CO2). Oxidation of ores has created a very acidic milieu, which is also known from other mining areas. In the mining area Herrerias however, this acidity dissolves carbonate from the rocks and produces carbonic acid (dissolved CO2), which can be accumulated under the high pressures of deep waters in the lake. There is not much circulation beyond 25 meter depth to remove the gas load" says Dr. Bertram Boehrer of UFZ, who is physicist and has been investigating stratification in lakes at many places on Earth.

Due to the high hydrostatic pressure, each liter of deep water contains about 2.5 liters of CO2 gas. As long as the stratification remains stable, the gas is retained in the deep water. A land slide or other processes producing large water movements could facilitate a sudden release of gas previously confined under high pressure. Inhaled air of 8 percent CO2 are considered deadly for humans.

Now the scientists installed a degasing pipe which is the heart of the new pilot plant: Deep water enters a pipe at 61m depth. On the way up, hydrostatic pressure drops and gas bubbles form. The reduced density of the water-gas-mixture allows that deep water is pushed out of the pipe at the upper end to form a fountain above the water table, where gas is released to the atmosphere. This is an elegant solution, as the system does not require any additional driver, and the controlled release of CO2 does not pose any problem.

„With this pilot plant, we could demonstrate that this approach also works in Guadiana pit lake. This can now be proposed to authorities as a possible approach to deal with the gas load." Though the lake in the mining area is fenced and access is not permitted to the public, this prohibition is difficult to survey.

Earlier installations in Lake Nyos in Cameroon served as a good example for this approach. In this lake, degassing pipes had been installed, which released the gas load with three fountains. On August 21st 1986, a large volume of gas escaped from the lake suddenly. The gas entered valleys of the surrounding area. 1700 human beings and thousands of animals were killed. The trigger could have been a land slide though this was never really proven. To avoid a repetition of this disaster, the gas load is slowly removed from the lake. One more crater lake called Monoun in Cameroon suffocated 37 human beings close to its shores in a similar eruption. Also in Monoun degasing fountains have been installed.

In Guadiana pit lake we do not see the same danger as in Lake Nyos, due to smaller size and depth. In addition, a density gradient between surface waters and deep waters is keeping the system stable. However, gas concentrations are so high that precaution must be taken. More detailed investigations must be implemented and remediation must be considered, says Dr. Boehrer. For the formation of such extreme gas loads, lakes must be sufficiently deep with incomplete winter recirculation (meromixis) and a strong carbon dioxide source. At the moment, we do not have such a lake in Germany.
Tilo Arnhold

Publication:
Sánchez-España, J., Boehrer, B., Yusta, I. (2014): Extreme carbon dioxide concentrations in acidic pit lakes provoked by water/rock interaction. Environ. Sci. Technol. 48 (8), 4273 - 4281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es5006797


Further information:
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Dr. Bertram Boehrer
Phone: ++49-391-810-9441
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=1830
or via
Tilo Arnhold, Susanne Hufe (UFZ press office)
Phone: ++49-341-235-1635, -1630
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=640


Other links:
Proyecto de Investigación en Corta Guadiana (auf spanisch):
http://www.asociacionherrerias.com/es/noticias/a%C3%B1o-2014/291-proye
Impacts of climate change on lakes
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=17265
Lake Nyos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos
Lake Monoun
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Monoun

In the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), scientists conduct research into the causes and consequences of far-reaching environmental changes. Their areas of study cover water resources, biodiversity, the consequences of climate change and possible adaptation strategies, environmental technologies and biotechnologies, bio-energy, the effects of chemicals in the environment and the way they influence health, modelling and social-scientific issues. Its guiding principle: Our research contributes to the sustainable use of natural resources and helps to provide long-term protection for these vital assets in the face of global change. The UFZ employs more than 1,100 staff at its sites in Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg. It is funded by the federal government, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. http://www.ufz.de/

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major and urgent issues in society, science and industry through scientific excellence in six research areas: Energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, structure of matter as well as aviation, aerospace and transportation. The Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific organisation in Germany, with 35,000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of around €3.8 billion. Its work is carried out in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894). http://www.helmholtz.de/

Dr. Bertram Boehrer | Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Further reports about: CO2 Cameroon Environmental Research Helmholtz Lake UFZ acidic carbon dioxide deep water depth dioxide human beings pressure

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica
05.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>