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Saline Carbon Capture and Storage Trial Two Successful

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) – one of the world's leading collaborative research organisations focusing on carbon capture and storage (CCS) – has successfully completed a second stage of research at the Otway Project in Southwest Victoria, which focused on CO2 storage in saline formations (deep porous rocks that contain water).
As saline formations are of common occurrence globally and can potentially store many years of CO2 emissions, researchers at the Otway Project have worked on two non-structural trapping mechanisms referred to as "residual gas trapping" and "dissolution trapping", which both work to ensure CO2 remains safely held underground.
WA research scientist at CSIRO and involved in the Otway Project Allison Hortle says, "Residual gas trapping occurs when a small amount of CO2 snaps off from the CO2 plume as it moves through the porous rock".
"The CO2 is stored in the pores in tiny bubbles, trapped by surface tension, and remains fixed underground.
"Dissolution trapping, on the other hand, refers to the portion of CO2 that's dissolved in the water in the formation.
"Once the CO2 dissolves, the water becomes denser and sinks towards the bottom of the formation."
CO2CRC Media and Communications Adviser Mr Tony Steeper, says the project is all about addressing public concerns about CCS and proving its viability and safety to stakeholders and policy-makers.
"The main concern people have about storing CO2 underground to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions is leakage," he says. "Although geological storage of CO2 seems like a new concept to many, it has actually been a part of oil and gas operations for 40 years and is better understood than many think." According to the International Energy Agency, CCS can be responsible for about 20 per cent of the carbon cuts necessary by 2050, and will therefore be an important option for countries heavily reliant on fossil fuels, such as Australia.
With $1.6 billion in funding from the Federal Government's Flagship program for such CCS demonstration projects, WA is an important player that hosts the Collie SW Hub Flagship Project, as well as the Gorgon Project of WA, which will be the biggest CO2 storage plant in the world when it starts operating in a few years.
Research at the Otway Project is continuing with 2012 studies developing innovative seismic techniques to monitor CO2.
The project will continue to at least 2015. (ScienceNetwork)
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