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return the greenhouse gases to the earth

Recently, a meeting was held at the Technion of the participants of the "Mustang" research project, funded by the European Union, and managed by Uppsala University in Sweden, in preparation for a field experiment of introducing carbon dioxide into one of the abandoned oil wells in Halt

Prof. Jacob Bar
Prof. Jacob Bar

Written by Avi Blizovsky for the Technion magazine.

We all feel the warming of the earth, which results from the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane and other gases. In many parts of the world, following international agreements such as the Kyoto agreement from about a decade ago, the governments impose limits on carbon emissions and set quotas for them.

In general, the quota system works like this: any company that wants to increase the carbon content in the atmosphere in any way has to pay taxes for it. These are supposed to go to bodies that develop clean energy. On the other hand, it is possible for companies that produce oil or burn it to produce electricity to offset these taxes if they reduce their carbon emissions in other ways.

One of the ways that companies such as Norwegian Statoil started already 16 years ago is to capture the carbon dioxide from the chimney, before emitting the materials into the atmosphere, cooling it and turning it into a liquid, and finally - introducing it back into an oil or gas well that has already ended its life, so that the harmful gas remains there for generations and does not contribute to global warming.

However, the obvious question is who guaranteed that the gas would not leak back into the atmosphere and then we actually gained nothing. For this, scientific and technological research by geologists specializing in underground reservoirs and hydrology is required (in this case it is admittedly liquefied gas and not water, but some of the properties are quite similar). "Mustang" is an integrative project that began on June 1, 2009 and was planned to last for four years with funding from the European Union's Seventh R&D Program (FP7).

The "Mustang" Consortium includes 19 institutions including universities, research institutes and companies of various sizes from Sweden, England, Scotland, Spain, Romania, Germany, and Israel. The Israeli partners are the Technion, the Geophysical Institute, Lapidot and EWRE. The strategic goals of the consortium are the development of guidelines, methods and tools for the characterization of deep and saline aquifers for long-term storage of carbon dioxide based on solid scientific knowledge of the critical processes accompanying such processes.
The goals of the project are to improve and develop the planning, monitoring and verification technologies so that they are especially suitable for the storage of CO2 in the underground, for a reliable determination of the physical and chemical properties of the site, and to enable short response times in the detection and monitoring of the CO2 plumes within the underground reservoir that was previously used for oil and gas or a reservoir containing salty water. The research includes the development of technologies that will enable the detection of leaks if there are any during the stages of introducing the CO2 into the underground reservoir and storing it.

The second goal is to improve the understanding of the relevant processes of C02 storage through theoretical research, laboratory experiments, studies in nature and research through experiments in the field such as the introduction of the gas that should be carried out in the extraction. This project is being carried out at the same time as a similar project in Katzine near Berlin.

Dr. Yaakov Ben Shabat - CEO of EWRE from Haifa: "The group is working on planning the experiment which includes opening an existing well - Extractor 18 - and drilling a new well at a certain distance from this well which will be determined as part of the planning and which is intended to be used for surveillance and monitoring purposes. What is special about the experiment is that we will install new technologies for supervision and monitoring, such as taking liquid samples from the depth, installing temperature and pressure sensors as well as optical fibers that allow continuous measurements of parameters relevant to the behavior of the CO2.

The purpose of the experiment is to determine capture parameters such as the melting degree of the CO2, capillary capture - capture in small pores of the rock. In addition to this, we will also perform an experiment of directed flow - that is, insertion in the insertion borehole and pumping in the observation borehole to direct the experiment by hydraulic means. This is a complex experiment because it is being carried out at a great depth of 1,600 meters, and the goal is to place sensors that will detect if there are leaks during the experiment in the layer above the target layer that is separated from this layer by an opaque rock about 40 meters thick.

In the first stage we plan to inject one thousand to two thousand tons of C02, this is what the funding allows us at this stage. The final goal of the experiment is to produce a broad and complete database through which it will be possible to calibrate prediction models that are an integral part of this technology."

Prof. Yaakov Bar from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion heads a team of researchers whose job it is to develop the models that will enable the planning of 2CO injection projects into deep geological layers containing salts: "These models will allow the planning of injection projects under different conditions, the prediction of the spread of 2CO in the geological layers, geochemical processes as well as the possibility of a leak The gas returned to the ground. This information is needed to assess risks, if any, and transfer the information to decision-making bodies. Even in Israel there is a need to dispose of the 2CO emitted from the chimneys of the power plants and the cement plants, which are large producers of CO2. It is important that the knowledge created in this research, funded by the European Community, will also be of interest to bodies in Israel such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Electric Company and others. In Europe and the USA there is a lot of activity on the subject - research and applied. This is a huge industry that will continue to grow and Israel should participate in it."

Sandeep Sharma, oil reservoir engineer, managing the CO2 injection project in Ottawa within the CO2CRC organization (Australia): "The experiment in Australia was groundbreaking in that we were able to understand legislative issues through it. It turns out that there were overlaps and contradictions between two laws and it was necessary to create new legislation focusing on the introduction of CO2. In addition, when carrying out a real project, it is necessary to discuss with community members, who fear, for example, a leak. Our project was in an agricultural area where milk is produced, and there was concern that a CO2 leak from the mine would in some way harm the milk or cheese produced there. However, the cooperation with the community is important because it is difficult to achieve anything without support.

We also learned about technical problems as well as the fate of the gas plume spreading inside the reservoir. Since this is a field that is in its infancy, it is important to develop the theoretical models and perform measurements in real time to verify and calibrate them, because the models are also supposed to give us the ability to predict what will happen in 100 and 200 years, so it is important that there be consistency between the monitoring results and the model, something that will give confidence That the model will correctly indicate the future."

Statoil from Norway is already doing this in practice at a number of oil and/or natural gas drilling sites. It's Andreas Torp's turn, senior engineer and responsible for the field of CO2 injection for about 16 years in the company's well in the North Sea. He tells from his experience: "The more we operate the project, the more it resembles the normal management of an oil and gas reservoir. The underground is always different from what you expect, but with our experience and the different ways it can always be done in a safe way. It must be remembered that we inject CO2 into the subsoil and it is different from natural gas, but many of its characteristics are similar to injecting natural gas or water, for example when it comes to the spread of the plume in the subsoil. In fact, these are the same physical laws that work when pumping oil, only in the opposite direction.

"We already have three sites to compare - Sleipner in the heart of the North Sea near the maritime border between Norway and Great Britain, In Salah in the heart of the Sahara desert in Algeria (together with BP and the Algerian oil company Sonatrak) and Snohvit on the border with the Barnet Sea on the northwest coast of Norway. While in Salpmar the oil well is shallow - only 800 meters below the seabed and it has a fast flow, in In-Sala it is a well on land, at a depth of 2,100 meters, and there due to the depth and the fact that it is soil that came up from a greater depth because there used to be a mountain there, the flow is very slow, Whereas in Sanvit, at a depth of 2,600 meters and including 350 meters below the seabed, where the flow is also slow, it is possible to learn about three different geological environments.

We inject gas most of which (96-98%) is carbon dioxide and the rest methane. The gas is extracted from the natural gas that we extract and sell. Since this is commercial drilling, we perform the research on top of the commercial operation, which is not always possible because production is a top priority."

"We have always used international research partners, even before the Mustang project, for two reasons: First, this brings experts from different backgrounds, and when several experts from different disciplines deal with the same problem, the chance that our results will be accepted as reliable will increase. The second reason is to improve our credibility, as we know the credibility of the oil and gas companies when it comes to environmental issues is not the best, and therefore it is better to rely on outside experts and reach a consensus regarding the scientific interpretation of the findings."

"The technology may be similar, but the geology is different from place to place, so it is important for us to learn about more and more environments and that is why we participated in the research in Katzine in Germany and we are also partners in research in the extraction and look forward to seeing how carbon dioxide gas will behave in the geology of Israel."

The 2010 Horton Medal was awarded at a ceremony recently held in San Francisco, California, to Prof. Jacob Barr from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion. The prestigious prize was awarded to Prof. Jacob Bar for his achievements in the field of hydrology.

Prof. Jacob Bar was surprised during the opening event of the meeting of the researchers participating in the "Mustang" project to receive a cake and congratulations on the occasion of his winning the Horton Medal. The medal is awarded by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to a maximum of one person per year for outstanding contributions in the field of hydrology."

6 תגובות

  1. You are crazy!!!!!!!!!!
    The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is a finite value. About 70 million barrels are burned every day, consuming about 100 million barrels of oxygen (in liquid form). The plants with the help of photosynthesis return (barely) the oxygen to the atmosphere.
    For every cm on Earth there is 0.2 kg of oxygen. Therefore, without the return of oxygen, the fire consumes 9x10^6 square meters per day. That is, 9000 dunams per day, which is about 45% of the territory of the State of Israel. There is also a leakage of oxygen from the Earth through the poles into space. Now think about when the world will run out of oxygen. (under 8% there is a problem).
    Prof. Jacob Bar, ask your colleague Prof. Emeritus Zaslavsky if he also supports the idea.
    Fire these "scientists" immediately.

  2. Something I had a hard time understanding was…. Atmospheric pressure has no liquid phase, it reaches a liquid phase only at a pressure of 10 bar (about 10 atmospheres) and even that only at temperatures of 220 Kelvin.
    At a temperature of 298 Kelvin, you need a pressure close to 80 atmospheres.... What does this mean in terms of energy considerations, a. Bringing the FDH to a solid will consume a lot of energy, who knows maybe even more than the electricity produced (need to calculate) b. How will you maintain this low temperature, or this crazy pressure in the well? It's like hiding a bomb in the depths of the earth... A professional scientific/engineering answer would be most welcome.

    Lior Z. From the Technion - by the way I'm in Prof. Yaakov Bar's faculty, so in the worst case I can always bother him by email 🙂

  3. The belly of our earth is not a garbage can.
    And carbon is not poison.

    All living things are built on carbon.

    The trees have created a process by which they remove the carbon from the air, take it to themselves for growth, and release the oxygen that sticks to the carbon back into the atmosphere.

    Just plant more trees and the carbon will disappear....

    without complicated processes.

  4. What a fun article! And in general it is a pleasure to read the articles on the site.
    They write about interesting topics, at a level, in depth, not populist.
    Very interesting article.

    Align power.

    And as for Ami Bachar's response - I absolutely agree with every word

  5. In my opinion, it is a very good idea to trap the greenhouse gases for a few hundred years because in the next hundred years, man will put much greener technologies into use, thus allowing for a more balanced release of greenhouse gases over a longer period of time. Instead of these being released now and affecting the environment in a concentrated manner, a slower and more uniform dispersion will most likely cause less damage.

    What I don't quite understand is how they haven't found a use for these greenhouse gases when they are locked in bottles? Carbon dioxide is sold for quite a bit of money for various uses. Is there nothing to do with all this compressed gas? probably not. Otherwise, the market would have already made money from them.

    Regarding returning the smoke to the car engines: I think it's actually not a bad idea at all. Maybe not to prevent, but certainly to catch the exhaust smoke and compress it into a gas tank that was sitting in the luggage. Once the tank is full, go to a gas station and there empty the tank or replace it with a new one. And so in the center it will be possible to collect the gas from the cars and maybe also inject it into the soil.

    Greetings friends,
    Ami Bachar

  6. The next step, of course, would be to put the smoke back into the car engines - not to mention what was done to the sheep in Australia 🙂

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