• Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

NETL Helps Liftoff of Airborne Expertise To Monitor Carbon Storage Websites


May 26, 2023

A staff led by NETL researchers lately launched airborne expertise at a commercial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic storage website in Mississippi to finish a first-of-its-kind electromagnetic survey and acquire knowledge wanted to watch greenhouse gasoline sequestered within the subsurface.

Deep underground storage of CO2 is a significant part within the nation’s efforts to realize a 100% carbon emission-free electrical energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economic system by 2050 and forestall the disastrous impression of local weather change.

Nevertheless, 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 consuming water.

To develop an efficient monitoring device, the NETL-led staff examined a superconducting quantum interference system (SQUID) magnetometerat the Kemper Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) website. The blimp-shaped system, which has been utilized by business to seek out diamonds and different beneficial minerals within the subsurface, was tethered to a helicopter and flown over the largely 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 knowledge may also help researchers determine geological options and doc adjustments when CO2 is injected.

The testing accomplished in Mississippi will even assist the staff, 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 answer 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 watch 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 had been remodeled the Challenge ECO2S CarbonSAFE website. 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 placement of brine, the thickness of rock layers, fractures and different subsurface options.

For different assessments, the staff ran electrical present to a 5-meter-long grounded dipole antenna that was oriented both in a north/south path or in an east/west path. The 2 antenna orientations had 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 had been undertaken to supply baseline representations of the subsurface for comparability with knowledge to be collected after CO2 is injected into the subsurface. The flights involving using 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 area measurements from a possible carbon storage website 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 vehicles 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 information to measuring devices situated close by.  This system is pricey, and a less expensive answer to picture subsurface CO2 plumes is required. 

Airborne electromagnetic surveys require far much less time and may be accomplished at decrease value. Plus, airborne surveys get rid of the necessity to negotiate agreements with landowners to deliver gear to a website when a survey must be accomplished.

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

“The subsequent stage within the growth of the expertise will deal with evaluating knowledge from our testing in Mississippi with the airborne magnetometer towards nicely logs and different knowledge 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 reasonably priced, ample and dependable vitality that drives a sturdy economic system and nationwide safety, whereas creating applied sciences to handle carbon throughout the total life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Individuals.

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