EERC and Hitachi improve CO2 storage estimation

Sep 20 2016


The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is working with NETL and Hitachi High Technologies America to improve assessment methods for estimating the storage capacity of CO2 in tight shale formations.

EERC researchers will develop advanced analytical techniques to better understand and quantify the distribution of clay minerals, organics, pore networks, and fractures in representative shale and tight rock samples. The analytical methods will be developed using imagery collected from a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), which provides the high-resolution images necessary for detection and characterization of the formation.

"Although significant progress has been made globally to investigate the suitability of subsurface geologic sinks for CO2 storage, there is a lack of detailed geologic and petrophysical data needed to develop better techniques for assessing CO2 storage resources within unconventional formations," said Bethany Kurz, EERC Principal Hydrogeologist, Laboratory Analysis Group Lead.

Project participant and cosponsor Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc., will work alongside the EERC to improve the data processing and image analysis within the FESEM software. The project is funded by NETL with cost share provided by Hitachi.

"We are so pleased to be working with Hitachi on this project," continued Kurz. "One of the key challenges in estimating CO2 storage capacity in organic-rich shale is that the analytical equipment and methods used to evaluate conventional reservoirs are limited when applied to shales that require analysis at such a small scale. Hitatchi's technology and image analysis expertise will greatly improve our ability to efficiently identify and quantify key features of interest within the shales and other tight rocks."

"Working with the EERC offers an exciting opportunity to utilize and develop Hitachi electron imaging technologies for the advanced characterization of unconventional reservoirs," said Chad Ostrander, VP/GM of Hitachi High-Technologies Canada, Inc. "The potential technology improvements offer both environmental and economic benefits on a global scale, and Hitachi is pleased to be part of this initiative."

The effects of CO2 exposure on shale samples will also be analyzed by scientists at NETL's CT Scanning Lab in Morgantown, West Virginia. NETL staff will also be involved to ensure that the project supports the goals of the Carbon Storage Program, which aims to improve the ability to predict CO2 storage capacity in geologic formations to within ±30%.

EERC


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