The effect of heterogeneity identifying the leakage of carbon dioxide in a shallow aquifer: an experimental study

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Seung-Wook Ha, Seung Hyun Lee, Won-Tak Jeon, Yeo-Jin Joo and Kang Kun Lee, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Carbon dioxide (CO2) leakage into the shallow aquifer is one of the main concerns at a CO2 sequestration site. Various hydrogeochemical parameters have been suggested to determine the leakage (i.e., pH, EC, Alkalinity, Ca and δ13C). For the practical point of view, direct and continuous measurement of the dissolved CO2 concentration at the proper location can be the most useful strategy for the CO2 leakage detection in a shallow aquifer. In order to enhance possibility of identifying leaked CO2, monitoring location should be determined with regard to the shallow aquifer heterogeneity. In this study, a series of experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of heterogeneity on the dissolved CO2 concentrations. A 2-D sand tank of homogeneous medium sands including a single heterogeneity layer was designed. Two NDIR CO2 sensors, modified for continuous measuring in aquatic system, were installed above and below the single heterogeneous layer (clay, fine and medium sand lenses). Also, temperature and water contents were measured continuously at a same position. Bromocresol purple which is one of the acid-base indicator was used to visualize CO2 migration. During the gas phase CO2 injection at the bottom of the sand tank, dissolved CO2 in the water is continuously measured. In the results, significant differences of concentrations were observed due to the presence of heterogeneity layer, even the locations were close. These results suggested that monitoring location should be determined considering vertical heterogeneity of shallow aquifer at a CO2 leakage site.