Sensitivity Study of Simulation Parameters Controlling CO2 Trapping Mechanisms in Saline Formations

Weon Shik Han, Kue Young Kim, Richard P. Esser, Eungyu Park, Brian J. McPherson

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30 Citations (Scopus)


The primary purpose of this study is to understand quantitative characteristics of mobile, residual, and dissolved CO2 trapping mechanisms within ranges of systematic variations in different geologic and hydrologic parameters. For this purpose, we conducted an extensive suite of numerical simulations to evaluate the sensitivities included in these parameters. We generated two-dimensional numerical models representing subsurface porous media with various permutations of vertical and horizontal permeability (kv and kh), porosity (φ{symbol}), maximum residual CO2 saturation (Sgrmax), and brine density (ρbr). Simulation results indicate that residual CO2 trapping increases proportionally to kv, kh, Sgrmax and ρbr but is inversely proportional to φ{symbol}. In addition, the amount of dissolution-trapped CO2 increases with kv and kh, but does not vary with φ{symbol}, and decreases with Sgrmax and ρbr. Additionally, the distance of buoyancy-driven CO2 migration increases proportionally to kv and ρbr only and is inversely proportional to Kh, φ{symbol} and Sgrmax. These complex behaviors occur because the chosen sensitivity parameters perturb the distances of vertical and horizontal CO2 plume migration, pore volume size, and fraction of trapped CO2 in both pores and formation fluids. Finally, in an effort to characterize complex relationships among residual CO2 trapping and buoyancy-driven CO2 migration, we quantified three characteristic zones. Zone I, expressing the variations of Sgrmax and kh, represents the optimized conditions for geologic CO2 sequestration. Zone II, showing the variation of φ{symbol}, would be preferred for secure CO2 sequestration since CO2 has less potential to escape from the target formation. In zone III, both residual CO2 trapping and buoyancy-driven migration distance increase with kv and ρbr.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-829
Number of pages23
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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