Assuring Long-term Storage of Captured CO2

Assuring Long-term Storage of Captured CO2: Technical-Legal-Policy-Business Models

Fossil fuel (coal, oil, or gas) combustion and the resulting CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is a key driver of the need for an energy transition. The goal of that energy transition is to limit climate change to less than 2°C warming over preindustrial levels; an International Panel on Climate Change study on climate change mitigation pathways ranked Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as one of the critical technologies needed to help achieve that goal (IPPC, 2014). Beyond limiting the impact of fossil fuel combustion, CCS is needed to reduce emissions from industrial sources that are otherwise difficult to mitigate (e.g. chemicals, cement and steel) and to support removal technologies such as bioenergy with capture and direct air capture). Although there remain uncertainties related to CCS and the role of CCS in the larger energy ecosystem, this project focuses on one specific element in this context: building technical and societal confidence in long-term storage. To have a measurable, positive impact on the atmosphere, as well as gain acceptance by commercial investors and public stakeholders, it is necessary to establish confidence that geologic storage will be effective in retaining CO2 injected in the deep subsurface over the long term (>100 years) prior to the start of a capture project. The various routes to building this confidence is the topic of our study.

Figure 1. (a) to (d) Estimated shape of the CO2 plume at several times during injection and post-injection stages, with mobile CO2 in green, trapped CO2 in grey and groundwater in white. (e) to (h) Probability distribution of the plume maximum footprint, time period for its complete trapping, storage efficiency, and the amount of trapped CO2 within 50 years of post-injection, obtained by the Monte Carlo simulations considering a broad range of geologic parameters. (i) Direct visual observation of CO2, brine, and sandstone interactions using the fabricated micromodel. (j) Effects of gravity on the migration of a CO2 ganglion highlighted in red. The ganglion is observed to migrate in the vertical direction, due to its buoyancy.


Research Outputs

Kahlor, L. A., Yang, J., Li, X., Wang, W., Olson, H. C., & Atkinson, L. (2020). Environmental Risk (and Benefit) Information Seeking Intentions: The Case of Carbon Capture and Storage in Southeast Texas. Environmental Communication, 14(4), 555-572.

Project Team

Susan Hovorka, Sr. Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences.

Lee Ann Kahlor, Associate Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations

Seyyed Hossieni, Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences.

Sahar Bakhshian, Research Associate, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences.

Wen Song, Assistant Professor, Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the Cockrell School

David Spence, Professor, Law School & McCombs School of Business

David Adelman, Professor, Law School