April 10, 2024
Journal Article

3D Quantification of Pore Networks and Anthropogenic Carbon Mineralization in Stacked Basalt Reservoirs


Basalt formations are promising candidates for the geologic storage of anthropogenic CO2 due to their storage capacity, porosity, permeability, and reactive geochemical trapping ability. The Wallula Basalt Carbon Storage Pilot Project demonstrated that supercritical CO2 injected into >800 m deep Columbia River Basalt Group stacked reservoir flow tops mineralizes to ankerite-siderite-aragonite on month-year timescales, with 60% of the 977 metric tonnes of CO2 converted within two years. The potential impacts of mineral precipitation and consequent changes on rock porosity, pore structure, pore size, and pore size distributions have likely been underestimated hitherto. Herein, we address these knowledge gaps using X-ray Micro Computed Tomography (XMT) to evaluate the pore network architecture of sidewall cores recovered two years after CO2 injection. In the present study, we performed a detailed quantitative analysis of the CO2-reacted basalt cores by XMT imaging. Reconstructed 3D images were analyzed to study the distribution and volumetric details of porosity and carbonate nodules in the cores along with the various other phases, providing insight into paragenesis and carbonate growth mechanisms, including mineralogic/chemical zonation. These findings are being used to parametrize multiphase reactive transport models to predict the fate and transport of subsurface CO2, enabling scale-up to commercial-scale geologic carbon storage in basalts and other reactive mafic-ultramafic formations.

Published: April 10, 2024


Battu A., Q. Miller, R. Cao, A.T. Owen, and H.T. Schaef. 2024. 3D Quantification of Pore Networks and Anthropogenic Carbon Mineralization in Stacked Basalt Reservoirs. Environmental Science & Technology 58, no. 8:3747-3754. PNNL-SA-181590. doi:10.1021/acs.est.3c06163

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