Analysis of hydrodynamic trapping interactions during full-cycle injectionand migration of CO2 in deep saline aquifers

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CO2 injection into deep saline aquifers has shown to be a feasible option, as for their large storage capacity under safe operational conditions. Previous studies have revealed that CO2 can be trapped in the subsurface by several mechanisms. Despite the major advances in studying these trapping mechanisms, their dynamic interactions in different periods of a full-cycle process have not been well understood; i.e., they are studied independently at their so-called ‘separate time scales of importance’. These mechanisms, however, are dynamically interconnected and influence each other even outside of their main time scale of importance. Besides, previous studies on field-scale simulations often choose grid cells which are too coarse to capture flow dynamics especially in post-injection period. To this end, we develop a comprehensive framework to analyze the flow dynamics and the associated hydrodynamic trapping process, in which the CO2 injection, migration and post-migration period are all considered in a unified manner. Through illustrative models with sufficient grid resolution, we quantify the impact of different trapping mechanisms and uncertain reservoir properties through a full-cycle process. We demonstrate that the time scale associated with each trapping mechanism indeed varies, yet their dynamic interplay needs to be considered for accurate and reliable predictions. Results reveal that residual trapping is governed by the advective transport in the injection period, and its contribution to the overall trapped amount becomes more significant in systems with lower permeability. Dissolution trapping operates under varying driving forces at different stages. In the injection period, the dissolution process is controlled by advective transport, and later enhanced by the gravity-induced convection in the post-injection period. Such convective transport diminishes the contribution from residual trapping. Our study sheds light on the impact of the coupled reservoir and fluid time-dependent interactions in estimation of the securely trapped CO2 in saline aquifers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104073
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Compositional simulation
  • Geologic carbon storage
  • Multiphase flow in porous media
  • Multiphysics interaction


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