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Numerical Simulation and Optimization of CO2 Sequestration in Saline Aquifers

[+] Author Affiliations
Zheming Zhang, Ramesh Agarwal

Washington University, Saint Louis, MO

Paper No. ES2012-91006, pp. 795-803; 9 pages
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2012 10th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2012 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, July 23–26, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4481-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


With recent concerns on CO2 emissions from coal fired electricity generation plants; there has been major emphasis on the development of safe and economical Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technology worldwide. Saline reservoirs are attractive geological sites for CO2 sequestration because of their huge capacity for sequestration. Over the last decade, numerical simulation codes have been developed in U.S, Europe and Japan to determine a priori the CO2 storage capacity of a saline aquifer and provide risk assessment with reasonable confidence before the actual deployment of CO2 sequestration can proceed with enormous investment. In U.S, TOUGH2 numerical simulator has been widely used for this purpose. However at present it does not have the capability to determine optimal parameters such as injection rate, injection pressure, injection depth for vertical and horizontal wells etc. for optimization of the CO2 storage capacity and for minimizing the leakage potential by confining the plume migration. This paper describes the development of a “Genetic Algorithm (GA)” based optimizer for TOUGH2 that can be used by the industry with good confidence to optimize the CO2 storage capacity in a saline aquifer of interest. This new code including the TOUGH2 and the GA optimizer is designated as “GATOUGH2”. It has been validated by conducting simulations of three widely used benchmark problems by the CCS researchers worldwide: (a) Study of CO2 plume evolution and leakage through an abandoned well, (b) Study of enhanced CH4 recovery in combination with CO2 storage in depleted gas reservoirs, and (c) Study of CO2 injection into a heterogeneous geological formation. Our results of these simulations are in excellent agreement with those of other researchers obtained with different codes. The validated code has been employed to optimize the proposed water-alternating-gas (WAG) injection scheme for (a) a vertical CO2 injection well and (b) a horizontal CO2 injection well, for optimizing the CO2 sequestration capacity of an aquifer. These optimized calculations are compared with the brute force nearly optimized results obtained by performing a large number of calculations. These comparisons demonstrate the significant efficiency and accuracy of GATOUGH2 as an optimizer for TOUGH2. This capability holds a great promise in studying a host of other problems in CO2 sequestration such as how to optimally accelerate the capillary trapping, accelerate the dissolution of CO2 in water or brine, and immobilize the CO2 plume.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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