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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Feb 15;43(4):1226-31.

Experimental study of carbon sequestration reactions controlled by the percolation of CO2-rich brine through peridotites.

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Géosciences, UMR 5243, Université Montpellier 2, CNRS, 34095 Montpellier, France.


Carbonation of ultramafic rocks in geological reservoirs is, in theory, the most efficient way to trap CO2 irreversibly; however, possible feedback effects between carbonation reactions and changes in the reservoir permeability must be considered to realistically assess the efficiency and sustainability of this process. We investigated changes in the hydrodynamic properties of sintered dunite samples by means of percolation experiments, under conditions analogous to that of in situ carbonation. Our results show that carbonation efficiency is controlled by the local renewal of the reactants and the heterogeneity of the pore structure. Preferential flow zones are characterized by the formation of magnetite and of a silica-rich layer at the olivine surfaces, which eventually inhibits olivine dissolution. Conversely, sustainable olivine dissolution together with coprecipitation of magnesite, siderite, and minor Mg-TOT-phyllosilicates, occur in reduced-flow zones. Thus carbonate precipitation only decreases porosity in zones where diffusion-controlled transport is dominant. Consequently, while high flow rates will decrease the carbonation efficiency of the reservoir and low flow rates may reduce the permeability irreversibly close to the injection point, moderate injection rates will ensure a partial carbonation of the rock and maintain the reservoir permeability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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