Investigation of Potassium Feldspar Reactivity in Wet Supercritical CO2 by In Situ Infrared Spectroscopy

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Christopher Thompson, Chelsea Widener, Todd Schaef, John Loring and B. Pete McGrail, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Geochemistry, Richland, WA, United States
Capture and subsequent storage of CO2 in deep geologic reservoirs is progressively being considered as a viable approach to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In the long term, injected CO2 may become permanently entrapped as silicate minerals react with CO2 enriched fluids to form stable carbonate minerals. Potassium feldspars are highly abundant in the earth’s crust and are present in the caprocks and storage formations of many target reservoirs. While the dissolution kinetics and carbonation reactions of feldspars have been well studied in the aqueous phase, comparatively little work has focused on K-feldspar reactivity in the CO2-rich fluid. In this study, we used in situ infrared spectroscopy to investigate the carbonation reactions of natural microcline samples. Experiments were carried out at 50 °C and 91 bar by circulating dry or wet supercritical CO2 (scCO2) past a thin film of powdered sample. Water concentrations ranged from 0% to 125% relative to saturation, and transmission-mode absorbance spectra were recorded as a function of time for 48 hours. No discernible reaction was detected when the samples were exposed to anhydrous scCO2. However, in fully water-saturated scCO2, a thin film of liquid-like water was observed on the samples’ surfaces, and up to 0.6% of the microcline was converted to a carbonate phase. Potassium carbonate is the most likely reaction product, but minor amounts of sodium carbonate and siderite may also have formed from minor sample impurities. The extent of reaction appears to be related to the thickness of the water film and is likely a consequence of the film’s ability to solvate and transport ions in the vicinity of the mineral surface. Other features observed in the spectra correspond to microcline dissolution and precipitation of amorphous silica. Implications about the role of water in these reactions and the relative effectiveness of alkali feldspars for mineral trapping of CO2 will be discussed.