Fast upscaling of CO2 storage capacity is necessary to reach climate goals, and requires utilization of a range of reservoirs, where heterogeneities may influence storage efficiency. Even in close-to-ideal reservoirs the CO2 displacement may be less-than-ideal; due to poor CO2 sweep efficiency through several adverse effects. The main goal of this project is to test whether mobility control can help optimize CO2 storage in porous media. Polymer (long-chained polymer molecules dissolved in and thickening fluid), gel (a high viscosity substance made up of inter-linked polymer molecules and bound water) and foam (mixing injected gas with surfactant) mobility control is frequently used in oil and gas production and remain highly relevant to the storage and utilization of CO2. Integration of several mobility control methods into one (e.g. mixing foam with polymers in polymer enhanced foams or -gel in foamed gels) represents a possibility to optimize subsurface CO2 storage, but is inherently complex. This project will quantify and adapt CO2 mobility control, and improve the understanding of integrated methods, which is necessary for implementation at scale.
We utilize advanced imaging technology for this purpose; including newly developed Positron Emission Tomography (PET) combined with Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging. PET-MR imaging enables simultaneous tracing of up to three fluid phases within the same porous medium, with potential high impact for the research community at large. Explicit imaging of several fluid phases is a significant advantage when investigating complex and integrated mobility control. Visualization can also be important tool to demonstrate CO2 storage to a broader audience: to improve the general understanding of physical mechanisms acting during and after storage.
Accurate and reproducible experimental results will be used in a core-to-field upscaling approach: to compare and determine optimum mobility control at the field scale.
Fast upscaling of CO2 storage capacity is necessary to reach climate goals and requires utilization of existing/depleted oil and gas reservoirs, where heterogeneities (fractures, layering, faults, etc.) exist at smaller or larger scales and influence the storage efficiency. Even in close-to-ideal reservoirs the CO2 displacement may be less-than-ideal; which is further emphasized when moving from onshore to offshore storage, where well distances are large and the unfavorable mobility ratio of CO2 compared to reservoir fluids cause poor sweep efficiency through several adverse effects. Optimizing CO2 storage in porous media is a timely challenge, that calls for implementation of improved mobility control methods.
This project emphasizes cutting-edge imaging technology to provide key insight into CO2 mobility control, and an experimental-numerical approach to upscale relevant behavior to field scale. Established conformance and mobility control methods polymer gel and foam, and combinations polymer-enhanced foams and foamed gels will be investigated utilizing emerging laboratory methods, and the in-situ imaging expertise of the female PI. The research team holds significant experience within gel and foam technology, which allows quick adaption of experimental setups to capture known and relevant behavior; and rigs the project to achieve fast and accurate results at relevant conditions and scales.