The Nanoscale Basis of CO2 Trapping for Geologic Storage

Ian Charles Bourg, Lauren E. Beckingham, Donald J. DePaolo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is likely to be a critical technology to achieve large reductions in global carbon emissions over the next century. Research on the subsurface storage of CO2 is aimed at reducing uncertainties in the efficacy of CO2 storage in sedimentary rock formations. Three key parameters that have a nanoscale basis and that contribute uncertainty to predictions of CO2 trapping are the vertical permeability kv of seals, the residual CO2 saturation Sg,r in reservoir rocks, and the reactive surface area ar of silicate minerals. This review summarizes recent progress and identifies outstanding research needs in these areas. Available data suggest that the permeability of shale and mudstone seals is heavily dependent on clay fraction and can be extremely low even in the presence of fractures. Investigations of residual CO2 trapping indicate that CO2-induced alteration in the wettability of mineral surfaces may significantly influence Sg,r. Ultimately, the rate and extent of CO2 conversion to mineral phases are uncertain due to a poor understanding of the kinetics of slow reactions between minerals and fluids. Rapidly improving characterization techniques using X-rays and neutrons, and computing capability for simulating chemical interactions, provide promise for important advances. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10265-10284
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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