Rock deformation research and geological storage
Carbon dioxide capture at fossil fuel power stations, coupled with geological storage in empty hydrocarbons reservoirs, saline aquifers or unminable coal seams, presents one of the most promising ways of reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. The feasibility of geological storage is determined by the response of the subsurface to CO2 injection. Particulary important is the coupled chemical-mechanical response of the reservoir formation, of the overlying caprocks, and of faults bounding the reservoir.
Since 2004, the Experimental Rock Deformation Group has been applying its expertise to address the mechanical and chemical response of upper crustal rock systems to CO2 storage. Topics include:
- Subsurface mineralization of reservoirs and hydrofractured peridotites. (Can CO2 be converted into carbonate minerals in the subsurface?)
- Effects of CO2 on compaction of reservoir rocks. (Will CO2 storage lead to reservoir compaction and subsidence?)
- Effects of CO2 on well-bore, caprock and fault integrity. (Will leaks develop with time, will faults be reactivated?)
- CO2 uptake by coal and effects of stress and strain. (Can CO2 be effectively injected into coal beds, can methane be recovered?)
We are also involved in research on CO2 sequestration by surface weathering of olivine.
Storage of energy
In addition to geological storage of CO2 the group is also involved in research on the behaviour of rock systems in relation to storage of oil, gas, hydrogen fuel, compressed air (compressed air energy storage) and radioactive waste.
Funding and collaboration
Much of our work is carried out within CATO, the Dutch national programme on carbon capture and storage, and in collaboration with TNO. The results provide key data on rock behaviour needed for assessing the feasibility and safety of geological storage of CO2.