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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Oct 1;39(19):7719-24.

Fate of rising CO2 droplets in seawater.

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  • 1Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1005, USA.


The sequestration of fossil fuel CO2 in the deep ocean has been discussed by a number of workers, and direct ocean experiments have been carried out to investigate the fate of rising CO2 droplets in seawater. However, no applicable theoretical models have been developed to calculate the dissolution rate of rising CO2 droplets with or without hydrate shells. Such models are important for the evaluation of the fate of CO2 injected into oceans. Here, I adapt a convective dissolution model to investigate the dynamics and kinetics of a single rising CO2 droplet (or noninteracting CO2 droplets) in seawater. The model has no free parameters; all of the required parameters are independently available from literature. The input parameters include: the initial depth, the initial size of the droplet, the temperature as a function of depth, density of CO2 liquid, the solubility of CO2 liquid or hydrate, the diffusivity of CO2, and viscosity of seawater. The effect of convection in enhancing mass transfer is treated using relations among dimensionless numbers. The calculated dissolution rate for CO2 droplets with a hydrate shell agrees with data in the literature. The theory can be used to explore the fate of CO2 injected into oceans under various temperature and pressure conditions.

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