• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

NETL Supports Liftoff of Airborne Technologies To Monitor Carbon Storage Internet sites


May 26, 2023

A group led by NETL researchers lately launched airborne technologies at a industrial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic storage web-site in Mississippi to comprehensive a 1st-of-its-type electromagnetic survey and gather information required to monitor greenhouse gas sequestered in the subsurface.

Deep underground storage of CO2 is a key element in the nation’s efforts to accomplish a one hundred% carbon emission-absolutely free electrical energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and avert the disastrous effect of climate modify.

On the other hand, significant-scale carbon sequestration desires to be closely monitored to make certain the greenhouse gas does not escape the protective layer of cap rock and leak to the surface or contaminate underground aquifers that provide drinking water.

To create an efficient monitoring tool, the NETL-led group tested a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometerat the Kemper Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) web-site. The blimp-shaped device, which has been applied by sector to discover diamonds and other precious minerals in the subsurface, was tethered to a helicopter and flown more than the mainly forested location in east-central Mississippi (verify out the SQUID magnetometer liftoff video).

The SQUID magnetometer can detect magnetic fields of incredibly low magnitude. Detection and evaluation of this measured geophysical information can aid researchers determine geological capabilities and document adjustments when CO2 is injected.

The testing completed in Mississippi will also aid the group, which incorporated NETL researchers Rick Hammack and Colton Kohnke and project partners from the Colorado College of Mines and Dias Geophysical, figure out if airborne electromagnetic surveys provide an efficient, reduce-expense option for monitoring carbon storage websites.

If thriving, the technologies will verify previous subsurface characterization efforts and create baseline measurements and subsurface representations. In addition, the airborne surveys may possibly help operators of underground storage websites in their efforts to monitor CO2 plume movement. The CO2 injected into the subsurface creates a plume, which enlarges inside the reservoir till injection is comprehensive. Website operators monitor the movement of the plume to make certain the integrity of the sequestration.

A series of flights had been created more than the Project ECO2S CarbonSAFE web-site. The 1st involved working with the magnetometer to measure naturally occurring electrical currents in the subsurface and also man-created electromagnetic noise. The information collected can be applied to figure out the place of brine, the thickness of rock layers, fractures and other subsurface capabilities.

For other tests, the group ran electric present to a five-meter-extended grounded dipole antenna that was oriented either in a north/south path or in an east/west path. The two antenna orientations had been applied to radiate electromagnetic power into the subsurface whilst the magnetometer was flown more than the test location following a north-to-south grid pattern.

All flights had been undertaken to make baseline representations of the subsurface for comparison with information to be collected soon after CO2 is injected into the subsurface. The flights involving the use of a liquid-helium-cooled SQUID magnetometer are a novel application for monitoring the functionality of industrial-scale carbon storage operations.  

“This was a 1st-of-its-type survey to gather field measurements from a possible carbon storage web-site working with a subsequent-generation SQUID magnetic receiver on a helicopter,” Hammack stated.  

Airborne electromagnetic surveys may possibly provide a reduce-expense option to accurately estimate capabilities in the subsurface.

At the moment, vibroseis trucks are typically applied to produce seismic waves by shaking the surface. Geophones are positioned to obtain the reflected subsurface seismic signal from the truck and transmit the information to measuring instruments positioned nearby.  This strategy is pricey, and a less expensive option to image subsurface CO2 plumes is required. 

Airborne electromagnetic surveys demand far significantly less time and can be completed at reduce expense. Plus, airborne surveys do away with the need to have to negotiate agreements with landowners to bring gear to a web-site when a survey desires to be completed.

The coarse sand inside the Project ECO2S CarbonSAFE web-site possesses exceptional porosity and permeability. “It’s a pretty excellent web-site for carbon storage that can be sophisticated working with this new tool to closely monitor CO2 behavior in the subsurface,” Hammack stated.

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

NETL drives innovation and delivers technological options for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous power future. By working with its planet-class talent and analysis facilities, NETL is guaranteeing reasonably priced, abundant and trustworthy power that drives a robust economy and national safety, whilst establishing technologies to handle carbon across the complete life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.

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