Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

Departments & Programs


Geochemical Processes and Permanent Storage

Magnesite forming on olivine reacted with CO2-saturated brine.
Massive magnesite veins in an ultramafic rock deposit at Red Mountain, CA

Geochemical processes are among the least understood processes in the geologic storage of CO2. However, geochemical reactions will impact storage projects as a result of chemical reactions that potentially alter the storage integrity of the cap rock, damage the reservoir and decrease injectivity, and mineralize CO2. In addition, the mineralization of CO2 to carbonate rocks provides the highest level of storage security possible, and optimizing these reactions could provide an important tool for CO2 storage.  The following themes will be researched:

- Development of an efficient simulator with capabilities for subsurface flow and geochemical reactions.

- Investigation of the impacts of clean and mixed CO2 injection on redox processes, the fate of organic compounds, and the transformations of clay minerals and other secondary phases.

- Relationships between mineral-fluid reactions and changes in porosity and permeability in shale cap rock and sandstone.

- Use of isotopic tracers to quantify mineral-fluid reactions.

- Chemical and mechanical processes that result in pervasive mineralization of CO2 in saline aquifers and ultramafic rocks and potential options to catalyze key reactions.

- Characterization of the impact that geochemical changes in fluid chemistry, porosity, permeability in sandstones, carbonates, coals, and shales have on geophysical signatures of CO2 injection including rock ultrasonic velocity, and electrical conductivity. 

Faculty:Dennis Bird, Kate Maher, Gordon Brown, Lou Durlofsky, Hamdi Tchelepi, Gary Mavko