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Researchers are developing a fibre-optic sensor system to monitor carbon dioxide at underground geological sequestration sites. Methods to track CO2 in geological storage sites should develop prior to carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. At CCS sites, this will help ensure that there are no leaks occurring. If CO2 is indeed leaking, it can be detected early so that remedial action can be quickly taken. It is important to verify secure storage for both the public and government’s interest since commercial projects will require public and regulatory acceptance. This technology can be used for CCS, for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and for examining CO2 fluxes in the natural environment.
Notably, it is a challenge to monitor injected CO2 in deep locations and large storage sites due to high temperatures, pressures, and the presence of many other fluids and gases. Currently, most CO2 detection methods are poorly designed to distribute measurements in these geological locations. The team’s design of novel fibre-optic technology may allow them to make distributed measurements of CO2 concentrations at deep/large storage sites over the long term. This will allow for cheap and effective carbon management.
$983,600 over 3 years; Awarded in 2011
Fibre optic sensors will be a low cost way of monitoring CCS sites over long time periods and large geological scales. In areas of carbon sequestration, the technology will be an affordable way to assure these sites are secure and achieving CO2 storage. If successful, commercialization of this technology will be targeted to a Canadian company. There will be positive economic benefits associated with this activity including the development, manufacturing, and sale of the technology.
Likely industrial users would be operators at field sequestration sites. These could include oil service production companies that provide testing and monitoring services on a contractual basis. This technology is unique, since fibre-optic systems for distributed measurement of CO2 concentrations do not currently exist. Besides CCS locations, it can be used in enhanced oil recovery operations, and monitoring natural and marine environments.
The team has three goals:
The methods under development are based on optical fibre technology. Currently, a proof-of-concept prototype sensor is undergoing bench-top testing. This sensor will be calibrated and its performance quantified in a controlled laboratory setting. In the near future, a prototype will be built for field-testing down hole.
Detecting Supercritical CO2 in Brine at Sequestration Pressure with an Optical Fiber Sensor, Bao, B., Melo ,L., Davies, B., Fadaei, H., Sinton, D., Wild., P., Environmental Science and Technology, Published on-line Dec. 2012, to appear in print, January 2013