Abstract

The injection of CO2 into deep saline aquifers is a potential option for greenhouse gas mitigation. However, several key issues, such as underground storage time and the fate of the injected CO2, must be studied before this option becomes economically and socially acceptable. In the current study, a one-dimensional reactive mass-transport model was used to predict the long-term chemical behavior of a deep saline aquifer following CO2 injection, far away from the injection site and representative of basin-scale migration and long-term fate. The dissolution of the injected CO2 into brine causes a sharp drop in pH, and consequently, the acidic brine aggressively reacts with aquifer minerals. Our model also predicts the dissolution of aluminosilicate minerals with the formation of secondary minerals and the precipitation and dissolution of carbonate minerals and is consistent with laboratory-scale CO2 core-flooding experiments. However, the extent and development of reaction fronts depend on the reaction rates used. For example, our modeling results indicate that the transport of carbon can be significantly retarded with respect to the flow of the brine itself, and a significant amount of injected CO2 is immobilized because of mineral trapping. The precise locations and patterns of the carbon reactive transport are sensitive to the reaction rates used, illustrating the need for improved knowledge of reaction kinetics, particularly the in-situ rates of dissolution and precipitation of aluminosilicate minerals, in evaluating mineral trapping of CO2 in deep geological formations.

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