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Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Dec 2;48(23):13610-6. doi: 10.1021/es502528c. Epub 2014 Nov 14.

Ground gas monitoring: implications for hydraulic fracturing and CO2 storage.

Author information

1
School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Newcastle University , Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. , NE1 7RU.

Abstract

Understanding the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) between the geosphere and atmosphere is essential for the management of anthropogenic emissions. Human activities such as carbon capture and storage and hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") affect the natural system and pose risks to future global warming and to human health and safety if not engineered to a high standard. In this paper an innovative approach of expressing ground gas compositions is presented, using data derived from regulatory monitoring of boreholes in the unsaturated zone at infrequent intervals (typically 3 months) with data from a high frequency monitoring instrument deployed over periods of weeks. Similar highly variable trends are observed for time scales ranging from decades to hourly for boreholes located close to sanitary landfill sites. Additionally, high frequency monitoring data confirm the effect of meteorological controls on ground gas emissions; the maximum observed CH4 and CO2 concentrations in a borehole monitored over two weeks were 40.1% v/v and 8.5% v/v respectively, but for 70% of the monitoring period only air was present. There is a clear weakness in current point monitoring strategies that may miss emission events and this needs to be considered along with obtaining baseline data prior to starting any engineering activity.

PMID:
25363162
DOI:
10.1021/es502528c
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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