January 13, 2023
Conference Paper

Computational Tools and Workflows for Quantitative Risk Assessment and Decision Support for Geologic Carbon Storage Sites: Progress and Insights from the U.S. DOE’s National Risk Assessment Partnership


The 2005 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on CCS raised the profile of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) as an important technology for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CCS is now recognized as a key component of most climate change mitigation scenarios. Since publication of that report the international research, development, and deployment (RD&D) community has advanced key technical aspects, clarified regulatory requirements, explored value chain and infrastructure solutions, and developed incentive paradigms to enable and promote large-scale deployment of CCS. These efforts have included research to better characterize geologic storage resources, to improve injection performance and storage efficiency, to assess and manage subsurface environmental risks, and to advance monitoring technologies to assure system conformance. These efforts have helped to build confidence in the viability of geologic carbon storage (GCS), but stakeholder concerns about long-term risks and liability associated with GCS remain a hurdle to broad acceptance and large-scale deployment of CCS. Since 2010, the U.S. DOE’s National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) – a research collaboration between five contributing national laboratories – has worked to establish and demonstrate methods and tools to quantify and manage the subsurface environmental risks associated with GCS, amidst uncertainty. This work supports the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Carbon Transport and Storage Program’s goal of advancing safe and secure commercial-scale GCS deployment. To address the technical challenge of simulating the physical response of the GCS site to large-scale CO2 injection, NRAP has adopted an approach that relies on coupling computationally efficient reduced-order and/or data-driven proxy models of important system components (i.e., storage reservoir, sealing caprock, leakage pathways, intermediate formations, overlying groundwater aquifers, and the atmosphere) in integrated assessment framework. That integrated model of the physical system is complemented with fit-for purpose functionality to support site characterization and risk-related decisions. The recently released NRAP Phase II toolset includes the Open-Source Integrated Assessment Model (NRAP-Open-IAM) for evaluation of trends in leakage risk and potential impact, tools to support monitoring design optimization (Designs for Risk Evaluation and Management – DREAM v3.0 and Passive Seismic Monitoring Tool - PSMT), and tools for state of stress evaluation (State-of-Stress Analysis Tool - SOSAT) and forecasting induced seismicity risk. The NRAP team has also released a pair of reports describing conceptual workflows to incorporate physics-based, quantitative risk assessment into many of the design, planning, operation, and closure decisions for GCS projects. An online catalogue highlights published studies where these tools and methods are demonstrated. In this presentation, the utility of these products to assess risks and address key stakeholder questions will be highlighted through examples, and related insights about the safety and security of geologic carbon storage in qualified storage sites will be discussed. The prospect of rapid, large-scale deployment of GCS technology to aggressively reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions requires careful consideration of interference between multiple commercial-scale storage projects within a basin. Going forward, NRAP is expanding and adapting site-scale risk quantification tools and methods to enable assessment of risks and inform management decisions for basin-scale deployment. Increasingly, this work will leverage next-generation approaches for surrogate modelling, fast prediction, and advanced visualization enabled by machine learning and artificial intelligence to promote virtual learning, scenario evaluation, and augment risk-based decision making.

Published: January 13, 2023


Dilmore R., D. Appriou, D.H. Bacon, C.F. Brown, A. Cihan, E. Gasperikova, and K. Kroll, et al. 2022. Computational Tools and Workflows for Quantitative Risk Assessment and Decision Support for Geologic Carbon Storage Sites: Progress and Insights from the U.S. DOE’s National Risk Assessment Partnership. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-16), October 23-24, 2022, Lyon, France. Rochester, New York:Social Science Research Network (SSRN). PNNL-SA-177276. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4298480

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