Alteration of bentonite when contacted with supercritical CO2

Monday, 15 December 2014
Kim Jinseok, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea
Deep saline formations overlaid by impermeable caprocks with a high sealing capacity are attractive CO2 storage reservoirs. Shales, which consist of mainly clay minerals, are potential caprocks for the CO2 storage reservoirs. The properties of clay minerals in shales may affect the sealing capacity of shales. In this study, changes in clay minerals’ properties when contacted with supercritical (SC) CO2 at various conditions were investigated. Bentonite, whichis composed of primarily montmorillonite, was used as the clay material in this study. Batch reactor tests on wet bentonite samples in the presence of SC CO2 with or without aqueous phases were conducted at high pressure (12 MPa) and moderate temperature (50 oC) conditions for a week. Results show that the bentonite samples obtained from the tests with SC CO2 had less change in porosity than those obtained from the tests without SC CO2 (vacuum-drying) at a given reaction time, indicating that the bentonite samples dried in the presence of SC CO2 maintained their structure. These results suggest that CO2 molecules can diffuse into interlayer of montmorillonite, which is a primary mineral of bentonite, and form a single CO2 molecule layer or double CO2 molecule layers. The CO2 molecules can displace water molecules in the interlayer, resulting in maintaining the interlayer spacing when dehydration occurs. Noticeable changes in reacted bentonite samples obtained from the tests with an aqueous phase (NaCl, CaCl2, or sea water) are decreases in the fraction of plagioclase and pyrite and formation of carbonate minerals (i.e., calcite and dolomite) and halite. In addition, no significant exchanges of Na or Ca on the exchangeable complex of the montmorillonite in the presence of SC CO2 occurred, resulting in no significant changes in the swelling capacity of bentonite samples after reacting with SC CO2 in the presence of aqueous phases. These results might be attributed by the CO2 molecule layer, which prevents diffusion of ions into the interlayer.