Computational methods for geochemical modelling: applications to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Title: Computational methods for geochemical modelling: applications to carbon dioxide sequestration
Authors: Moreira Mulin Leal, Allan
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: Geochemical modelling is fundamental for solving many environmental problems, and specially useful for modelling carbon storage into deep saline aquifers. This is because the injected greenhouse gas perturbs the reservoir, causing the subsurface fluid to become acidic, and consequently increasing its reactivity with the formation rock. Assessment of the long term fate of carbon dioxide, therefore, requires accurate calculations of the geochemical processes that occur underground. For this, it is important to take into account the major water-gas-rock effects that play important roles during the gas storage and migration. These reactive processes can in general be formulated in terms of chemical equilibrium or chemical kinetics models. This work proposes novel numerical methods for the solution of multiphase chemical equilibrium and kinetics problems. Instead of adapting or improving traditional algorithms in the geochemical modelling literature, this work adopts an approach of abstracting the underlying mathematics from the chemical problems, and investigating suitable, modern and efficient methods for them in the mathematical literature. This is the case, for example, of the adaptation of an interior-point minimisation algorithm for the calculation of chemical equilibrium, in which the Gibbs energy of the system is minimised. The methods were developed for integration into reactive transport simulators, requiring them to be accurate, robust and efficient. These features are demonstrated in the manuscript. All the methods developed were applied to problems relevant to carbon sequestration in saline aquifers. Their accuracy was assessed by comparing, for example, calculations of pH and CO2 solubility in brines against recent experimental data. Kinetic modelling of carbon dioxide injection into carbonate and sandstone saline aquifers was performed to demonstrate the importance of accounting for the water-gas-rock effects when simulating carbon dioxide sequestration. The results demonstrated that carbonate rocks, for example, increase the potential of the subsurface fluid to dissolve even more mobile CO2.
Content Version: Open Access
Issue Date: Apr-2014
Date Awarded: Aug-2014
Supervisor: Blunt, Martin
Sponsor/Funder: Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre
Department: Earth Science & Engineering
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering PhD theses

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