Clay Hydration/dehydration in Dry to Water-saturated Supercritical CO2: Implications for Caprock Integrity


AbstractInjection of supercritical CO2 (scCO2) for the geologic storage of carbon dioxide will displace formation water, and the pore space adjacent to overlying caprocks could eventually be dominated by dry to water- saturated scCO2. Wet scCO2 is highly reactive and capable of carbonating and hydrating certain minerals, whereas anhydrous scCO2 can dehydrate water-containing minerals. Because these geochemical processes affect solid volume and thus porosity and permeability, they have the potential to affect the long-term integrity of the caprock seal. In this study, we investigate the swelling and shrinkage of an expandable clay found in caprock formations, montmorillonite (Ca-STx-1), when exposed to variable water-content scCO2 at 50°C and 90bar using a combination of in situ probes, including X-ray diffraction (XRD), in situ magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MAS NMR), and in situ attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR). We show that the extent of montmorillonite clay swelling/shrinkage is dependent not only on water hydration/dehydration, but also on CO2 intercalation reactions. Our results also suggest a competition between water and CO2 for interlayer residency where increasing concentrations of intercalated water lead to decreasing concentrations of intercalated CO2. Overall, this paper demonstrates the types of measurements required to develop fundamental knowledge that will enhance modeling efforts and reduce risks associated with subsurface storage of CO2

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Last time updated on 6/5/2019

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