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Springerplus. 2014 May 25;3:267. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-267. eCollection 2014.

Geophysical assessments of renewable gas energy compressed in geologic pore storage reservoirs.

Author information

1
Department of Geophysics, Institute of Geosciences, University of Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany.

Abstract

Renewable energy resources can indisputably minimize the threat of global warming and climate change. However, they are intermittent and need buffer storage to bridge the time-gap between production (off peak) and demand peaks. Based on geologic and geochemical reasons, the North German Basin has a very large capacity for compressed air/gas energy storage CAES in porous saltwater aquifers and salt cavities. Replacing pore reservoir brine with CAES causes changes in physical properties (elastic moduli, density and electrical properties) and justify applications of integrative geophysical methods for monitoring this energy storage. Here we apply techniques of the elastic full waveform inversion FWI, electric resistivity tomography ERT and gravity to map and quantify a gradually saturated gas plume injected in a thin deep saline aquifer within the North German Basin. For this subsurface model scenario we generated different synthetic data sets without and with adding random noise in order to robust the applied techniques for the real field applications. Datasets are inverted by posing different constraints on the initial model. Results reveal principally the capability of the applied integrative geophysical approach to resolve the CAES targets (plume, host reservoir, and cap rock). Constrained inversion models of elastic FWI and ERT are even able to recover well the gradual gas desaturation with depth. The spatial parameters accurately recovered from each technique are applied in the adequate petrophysical equations to yield precise quantifications of gas saturations. Resulting models of gas saturations independently determined from elastic FWI and ERT techniques are in accordance with each other and with the input (true) saturation model. Moreover, the gravity technique show high sensitivity to the mass deficit resulting from the gas storage and can resolve saturations and temporal saturation changes down to ±3% after reducing any shallow fluctuation such as that of groundwater table.

KEYWORDS:

Compressed air/gas energy storage (CAES); Elastic full waveform inversion (FWI); Electric resistivity tomography (ERT); Gravity method; Petrophysical rock parameters; Renewable energy

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