Efforts to develop safe and effective next-generation energy and carbon-storage technologies in the subsurface require novel means to control undesired fluid migration. Here we demonstrate that the carbonation of calcium silicates can produce reaction products that dramatically reduce the permeability of porous media and that are stable. Most calcium silicates react with CO2 to form solid carbonates but some polymorphs (here, pseudowollastonite, CaSiO3) can react to form a range of crystalline calcium silicate hydrates (CCSHs) at intermediate pH. High-pressure (1.1-15.5 MPa) column and batch experiments were conducted at a range of temperatures (75-150 °C) and reaction products were characterized using SEM-EDS and synchrotron μXRD and μXRF. Two characteristics of CCSH precipitation were observed, revealing unique properties for permeability control relative to carbonate precipitates. First, precipitation of CCSHs tends to occur on the surface of sand grains and into pore throats, indicating that small amounts of precipitation relative to the total pore volume can effectively block flow, compared to carbonates which precipitate uniformly throughout the pore space. Second, the precipitated CCSHs are more stable at low pH conditions, which may form more secure barriers to flow, compared to carbonates, which dissolve under acidic conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry