|Fossil fuel consumption puts around 7 bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, and the CO2 concentration has risen substantially since the industrial revolution. While humankind is unlikely to stem its dependence in the near term, we can dramatically reduce emissions of this greenhouse gas using carbon capture and storage. The first programmes have begun, and legislation and common sense require that the process be monitored. While many tools already exist in the petroleum industry, new, low cost, passive, continuous monitoring techniques are required.
Prof Gluyas will examine two technologies to monitor both the injection and storage of CO2. Satellite-measured changes in surface elevation have allowed the measurement of CO2 injection beneath the bare Algerian desert, but present difficulties in areas of agriculture and vegetation; some early results will be presented. Muon tomography is a theoretically feasible alternative, and is undergoing its first practical test in the deep Boulby Potash Mine in northern England - an ideal location for testing the ultimate sensitivity, which might reveal the diurnal and monthly tidal cycles using muon detectors deep within the mine. The first few carbon storage programmes have begun with dense phase CO2 being injected deep into porous and permeable sites; comparable to the natural traps in which oil and gas occur. Legislation as well as good, common sense dictates that the carbon dioxide once injected needs to be monitored – possibly for generations. Many of the tools used to find and monitor production of petroleum can be used to monitor carbon storage sites but a combination of the timeframes involved and the fact that storage of CO2 does not intrinsically create value (it is waste disposal) mean that a suite of new, low cost, passive, continuous monitoring technologies are require.
Here Prof Gluyas will examine two technologies which have the potential to help monitor both injection and storage of CO2 continuously and at a cost lower than the conventional methods used by the petroleum industry. These have hitherto have not been used by the emerging CCS industry.
InSAR satellite technology has been used to measure changes in elevation, surface inflation, associated with injection of CO2 into the deep subsurface at In Salah in the bare desert of Algeria but how do you apply it to onshore areas that are not bare deserts but rural areas in which a ploughed field or annual vegetation growth could mask changes in elevation of underlying bedrock? Prof Gluyas will present some early results.
The theoretical feasibility of using muon tomography for continuous monitoring of injection of supercritical carbon dioxide into deep geological storage for carbon storage as a climate change mitigation technology has been proven already. Although theoretically feasible it is essential to take the next step and prove its practical feasibility. As a first practical test of feasibility we are using the deep Boulby Potash Mine in northern England provides us with a unique environment in which to measure muon fluxes, develop and deploy instrumentation and test the sensitivity of our method. The mine extends offshore and provides the ideal location for the ultimate sensitivity test. Might it be possible to detect the diurnal and monthly tidal cycles from deep within the mine using muon detectors?