From digital rocks to gigatonne scale CO2 storage: two revolutions in one
Samuel Krevor (Imperial College London)
Many assessments suggest that the widespread storage of CO2 in deep subsurface sedimentary rocks will be needed to avoid dangerous climate change. It is estimated that storage rates will be needed of the order 1-10 GtCO2 per year by 2050, as much fluid handling as in the oil & gas industry today. The management of individual storage sites is increasingly understood with a number of projects injecting at rates around a million tCO2 per year. However, challenges remain for the scale-up of injection rates to gigatonnes per year. Central to these challenges are the limitations to modelling and predicting injected CO2 movement and immobilization in the subsurface. I will present research in three areas in which digital rock techniques are used to analyse fluid dynamics and develop models of subsurface flow across scales: (1) an exploration of the pore scale fluid dynamics underlying the use of Darcy’s law to model two-phase flow (2) the upscaled impacts of small scale heterogeneity on CO2 migration and trapping, and (3) an analysis of the implications of climate change mitigation targets to growth rates and global resource capacity of subsurface CO2 storage. The one idea I would like the members to take away is that these revolutions can and will drive each other; Technology advance in digital rock reservoir characterisation is revolutionising our ability to manage subsurface fluids just at the moment that we need it to apply our skills as petroluem engineers in rising to the grand challenge of mitigating climate change.
Sam Krevor is a Reader at Imperial College London where he leads the Subsurface CO2 group and is the Faculty Advisor for the SPE student chapter. He develops digital rock techniques to characterise CO2 storage underground with over 70 highly cited papers. He manages over £10M in industry and government funded research. He received his BSc, MSc, and PhD from Columbia University and was a Postdoctoral Scholar in Energy Resource Engineering at Stanford University.