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Departments & Programs


Geologic Carbon Storage (GCS)

Graduate student Dana Thomas prepares to sample natural CO2-rich springs in Iceland as an analogue for CO2 storage in basaltic rocks.
Graduate student Pablo Garcia del Real investigates the conversion of peridotite (Mg-silicate rocks) to carbonate minerals via interactions with CO2-rich fluids at Red Mountain, CA.
To store carbon dioxide in basaltic and ultramafic rocks requires the creation of fractures and the generation of surface area so mineralization reactions can occur.
Professor Gordon Brown, students and postdoctoral fellows observe massive magnesium carbonate veins inside of a mine in northern California. These rocks provide a natural analogue for potential carbon dioxide injection into ultramafic rocks.

Geologic Carbon Storage

>> Also visit the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) website to learn more about all of the carbon storage research at Stanford. 

>> See our research in the news: "Abandoned mine holds clues to stopping global warming", NBC News, Science Daily, Stanford News.

>> Read an interview with Professor Kate Maher regarding her experience as a GCEP (Global Climate and Energy Project) distinguished lecturer.

Research Overview: The injection of large volumes of CO2 into the subsurface is an essential strategy for both enhanced energy extraction and the disposal of waste products derived from energy generation. As the CO2 interacts with mineral surfaces and dissolves into local fluids, the ensuing chemical reactions transform the subsurface environment and impact the fate and transport of CO2 and other fluids.

The goal of our collective experimental studies, geochemical modeling and field observations is to provide new insights into the reactivity of CO2-bearing fluids with mineral surfaces from several angles:

(1) Direct mineral carbonation using Mg-silicates.

(2) Redox transformations involving CO2 that may alter the porosity and permeability of petroleum reservoirs, or chemically reduce CO2 to form new carbon compounds.

(3) Reactions between mineral surfaces and aqueous species in mesopores that enhance chemical transformations (i.e., pores with diameters between 2 and 50 nanometers). 

(4) Methods for detecting and mitigating CO2 leaks, including emplacement of reactive barriers (part of the CO2 Capture Project, Phase 3).