What Have We Learnt About CO2 Leakage in the Context of Commercial-Scale CCS?

17 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2019 Last revised: 27 Oct 2020

See all articles by Jennifer J. Roberts

Jennifer J. Roberts

University of Strathclyde - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Linda Stalker

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO Energy

Zoe Shipton

University of Strathclyde

Neil Burnside

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Date Written: October 22, 2018

Abstract

The viability of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) depends on the reliable containment of injected CO2 in the subsurface. Robust and cost-effective approaches to measure monitor and verify CO2 containment are required to demonstrate that CO2 has not breached the reservoir, and to comply with CCS regulations. This includes capability to detect and quantify any potential leakage to surface. It is useful to consider the range of possible leak rates for potential CO2 leak pathways from an intended storage reservoir to surface to inform the design of effective monitoring approaches. However, in the absence of a portfolio of leakage from engineered CO2 stores we must instead learn from industrial and natural analogues, numerical models, and laboratory and field experiments that have intentionally released CO2 into the shallow subsurface to simulate a CO2 leak to surface. We collated a global dataset of measured or estimated CO2 flux (CO2 emission per unit area) and CO2 leak rate from industrial and natural analogues and field experiments. We then examined the dataset to compare emission and flux rates and seep style, and consider the measured emission rates in the context of commercial scale CCS operations. We find that natural and industrial analogues show very wide variation in the scale of CO2 emissions, and tend to be larger than leaks simulated by CO2 release experiments. For all analogue types (natural, industrial, or experiment) the emission rates show greater variation between sites than CO2 flux rates. Quantitation approaches are non-standardized, and that measuring and reporting both the CO2 flux and seep rate is rare as it remains challenging, particularly in marine environments. Finally, we observe that CO2 fluxes tend to be associated with particular emission characteristics (vent, diffuse, or water-associated). We propose that characteristics could inform the design and performance requirements for CO2 leak monitoring approaches tailored to detect specific emission styles.

Keywords: leakage; CCS; seep rate; CO2 flux; monitoring; risk assessment

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Jennifer J. and Stalker, Linda and Shipton, Zoe and Burnside, Neil, What Have We Learnt About CO2 Leakage in the Context of Commercial-Scale CCS? (October 22, 2018). 14th Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies Conference Melbourne 21-26 October 2018 (GHGT-14) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3366113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3366113

Jennifer J. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ( email )

Glasgow
United Kingdom

Linda Stalker

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO Energy

10 Murray Dwyer Circuit
Mayfield West, New South Wales 2304
Australia

Zoe Shipton

University of Strathclyde ( email )

16 Richmond Street
Glasgow 1XQ, Scotland G1 1XQ
United Kingdom

Neil Burnside

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

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