Department of Earth Sciences

Geological Storage of Carbon dioxide

Geological carbon storage (GCS) refers to the depositing of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from large point sources, such as fossil fuel based power plants and industrial sources, in deep geological formations.

The large-scale integrating EU FP7 project MUSTANG lead by our research group (Prof. Auli Niemi) is aimed to develop new methods and understanding for characterizing deep saline formations for geological storage of CO2. Our research objective, both in the MUSTANG project at large and in the research group is to gain an improved understanding and methods for predicting CO2 spreading and trapping in geological storage formations. Our reseach questions are addressed in various ways, including development of models and methods for CO2 spreading prediction and monitoring, the study of a number of test sites (showed below), extensive laboratory experiments and most notably through a highly instrumented deep CO2 injection experiment (Heletz) being carried out at a depth of 1600m, where supercritical CO2 will be injected into the reservoir and its spreading and trapping will be observed by various methods in order to get an understanding of the key in-situ trapping mechanism.

Beyond the Mustang, our research group is also extensively involved in TRUST project, aiming at conducting CO2 injection experiments at scales large enough so that the output can be extrapolated at industrial scales, the  PANACEA project, aiming to understand the long-term fate of geologically stored COand the CO2QUEST project,  investigating the effects of impurity gases in CO2 stream to the performance of the geological storage.External webpage can be accessed through clicking on the project logo below.

An important component in this work is the scientifically motivated CO2 injection site at Heletz, Israel (link to the special issue), instrumented for sophisticated monitoring of the CO2 injection experiments performed. The objective of these experiments is to evaluate, quantify and monitor the key CO2 trapping mechanisms (structural, residual and dissolution trapping) in-situ.       

Key publications

Basirat, F., Yang, Z., Niemi, A. (2017) Pore-scale modeling of wettability effects on CO2–brine displacement during geological storage. Advances in Water Resources. Accepted with revision.

Tian, L., Richard Wilkinson, Zhibing Yang, Henry Power, Fritjof Fagerlund and Auli Niemi (2017) ‘Gaussian Process Emulators for Quantifying Uncertainty in CO2 Spreading Predictions in Heterogeneous Media’ Computers & Geosciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.cageo.2017.04.006

Basirat, F., Fagerlund, F., Denchik, N., Pezard, P. and Niemi, A. (2016) Numerical modelling of CO2 injection at small-scale field experimental site in Maguelone, France. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2016. 54: 200-210.

K. Rasmusson, M. Rasmusson, Y. Tsang, Niemi, A. (2016) A simulation study of the effect of trapping model, geological heterogeneity and injection strategies on CO2 trapping.  International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.  Vol 52. pp. 52-72 DOI:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.06.020.

Wolf, J.L., Niemi, A., Bensabat, J. and Rebscher, D. (2016) Benefits and restrictions of 2D reactive transport simulations of CO2 and SO2 co-injection into a saline aquifer using TOUGHREACT V3.0-OMP.International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. Volume: 54   Pages: 610-626  

Fagerlund, F., Hellman, F., Målqvist, A. and Niemi, A. (2016) Multilevel Monte Carlo methods for computing failure probability of porous media flow systems. Advances in Water Resources. Volume: 94   Pages: 498-509. AUG 2016.  

Niemi, Auli, Gouze, Philippe and Bensabat, Jacob (2016) ‘Characterization of formation properties for geological storage of CO2 - Experiences from the Heletz CO2 injection site and other example sites from the EU FP7 project MUSTANG’. Editorial for a Special Issue to International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.02.007

Niemi, A. Bensabat, J, Shtivelman, V, Edlmann, K, Gouze, P., Luquot, L., Hingerl, F, Benson, S.M., Pezard, P.A, Rasmusson, K., Liang,T., Fagerlund, F., Gendler, M., Goldberg,I, Tatomir,A., Lange, T., Sauter, M.,  and Freifeld, B. (2016) Heletz experimental site overview, characterization and data analysis for CO2 injection and geological storage Int. J. of Greenhouse Gas Control. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.12.030 

Luquot, L., Gouze, P., Niemi, A., Bensabat, J. and Carrera, J. (2016) Laboratory CO2-rich brine percolation experiments through Heletz samples (Israel): Role of the flow rate and brine composition. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, DOI:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.10.023

Zhang, F., Juhlin C., Niemi A., Huang F., Bensabat J. (2016). A feasibility and efficiency study of seismic waveform inversion for time-lapse monitoring of onshore CO2 geological storage sites using reflection seismic acquisition geometries. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, DOI:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.11.015

Tatomir, A., Halisch, M., Duschl, F., Peche, A., Wiegand, B., Schaffer, M., Licha, T., Niemi, A., Bensabat, J., Sauter, M., (2016). An integrated core-based analysis for the characterization of flow, transport and mineralogical parameters of the Heletz pilot CO2 storage site reservoir. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.01.030.

Edlmann K., Niemi A., Bensabat J., Haszeldine R.S. and McDermott C.I. (2016) Mineralogical properties of the caprock and reservoir sandstone of the Heletz field scale experimental CO2 injection site, Israel; and their initial sensitivity to CO2 injection. Int. J. of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2016.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.01.003

Edlmann, K., Bensabat, Niemi, A., R.S. Haszeldine, C.I. McDermott (2016) Lessons learned from using expert elicitation to identify, assess and rank the potential leakage scenarios at the Heletz pilot CO2 injection site Int. J. of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2016.

Porter, RTJ,  Mahgerefteh, H, Brown, S,  Martynov, S,  Collard, A,  Woolley, RM, Fairweather, M, Falle, SAEG, Wareing, CJ, Nikolaidis, IK, Boulougouris, GC,  Peristeras, LD, Tsangaris, DM, Economou, IG, Salvador, C, Zanganeh, K Wigston, A, Najafali, JN, Shafeen, A, Beigzadeh, A, Farret, R, Gombert, P, Hebrard, J, Proust, C, Ceroni, A, Flauw, Y, Zhang, YC, Chen, SY, Yu, JL, Talemi, RH, Bensabat, J, Wolf, JL, Rebscher, D, Niemi, A, Jung, BJ Mac Dowell, N, Shah, N, Kolster, C, Mechleri, E, Krevor, S (2016) ...More Techno-economic assessment of CO2 quality effect on its storage and transport: CO(2)QUEST An overview of aims, objectives and main findings . International Journal of Greenhouse gas Control. Vol: 54 Pp. 662-681. Part: 2. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.08.011

Tian, L, Yang, Z, Fagerlund, F. and Niemi, A. (2015) Effects of permeability heterogeneity on CO2 injectivity and storage efficiency coefficient. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology. 6(11): 112-124  DOI: 10.1002/ghg.1540

Basirat, F., Niemi, A., Sharma, P. and Fagerlund, F. (2015) Experimental and Modelling Investigation of CO2 Flow and Transport in a Coupled Domain of Porous Media and Free Flow.  International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.  42: 61-470. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.08.024

Rasmusson, M., Fagerlund, F., Tsang, Y., Rasmusson, K., Niemi, A. (2015) On the prerequisites for density-driven instabilities and convective mixing under broad geological CO2 storage conditions Advances. Advances in Water Resources, 84: 136-151.  DOI: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2015.08.009

Figueiredo, B, Tsang, CF , Rutqvist, J, Bensabat, J and Niemi, A (2015) Coupled hydro-mechanical processes and fault reactivation induced by CO2 Injection in a three-layer storage formation Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control, Volume: 39, Pages: 432-448, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.06.008

Rasmusson, K., Tsang, C.-F., Tsang, Y., Rasmusson M., Pan, L., Fagerlund, F., Bensabat, J., Niemi, A. (2015) Distribution of injected CO2 in a stratified saline reservoir accounting for coupled wellbore-reservoir flow. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology.Volume 5, Issue 4, August 2015, Pages: 419–436

Rasmusson, K., Rasmusson, M., Fagerlund, F., Bensabat,J.,  Tsang, Y. and Niemi, A.  (2014) Analysis of alternative push-pull-test-designs for determining in-situ residual trapping of carbon dioxide. Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control, Volume: 27   Pages: 155-168. Aug 2014

O’Neill, N., Pasquali, R., Vernon, R. and Niemi, A. (2014) Geological Storage of CO2 in the Southern Baltic Sea. Energy Procedia, 2014. Vol 59 (pp. 443-439)

Behrens, H., Ghergut,J.,  Bensabat, J., Niemi, A. and Sauter, M. (2014) Merging single-well and inter-well tracer tests into one forced gradient dipole test, at the Heletz site within the MUSTANG project.  Energy Procedia, 2014. 59 (pp. 249 – 255) 

Brown, S., Martynov, S., Mahgerefteh, H., Fairweather, M., Woolley, R.M., Wareing, C.J., Falle, S., Rutters, H. Niemi, A.,  Zhang, Y.C. Chen, S.,  Bensabat, J.,  Shah, N., Dowell, N.M., Proust, C. Regis Farret, R., Economou, I.G., Tsangaris, D.M. Boulougouris, G.C., Wittenbergh, J.V (2014) CO2QUEST: Techno-economic Assessment of CO2 Quality Effect on Its Storage and Transport Energy Procedia, 2014. 63 (2622-2629)

Kühn, M., Andreas Busch, Auli Niemi, Alexandra Amann-Hildenbrand, Thomas Kempka, Stefan Lüth (2013) Preface: CO2 storage is feasible and further demonstration projects are needed. Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control 19 (2013) 606–608

Yang, Z, Tian, L., Niemi, A. and Fagerlund, F. (2013) Upscaling of the constitutive relationships for CO2 migration in multi-modal heterogeneous formations. Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control 19 (2013) 743–755

Fritjof Fagerlund, Auli Niemi, Jacob Bensabat, Vladimir Shtivelman (2013) Design of a two-well field test to determine in situ residual and dissolution trapping of CO2 applied to the Heletz CO2 injection site. Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control 19 (2013) 642–651 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.036

Tong, Niemi et al (2013) A numerical model of tracer transport in a non-isothermal two- phase flow system for CO2 geological storage characterization. Transport in Porous Media. 98(1):173-192. DOI: 10.1007/s11242-013-0138-x

Basirat,F., Niemi,A., Perroud,H. Lofi,J. , Denchik,N., Lods, G., Pezard,P., Sharma, P.  and Fagerlund, F. (2013) Modeling CO2 Gas Transport in the Shallow Subsurface in Maguelone Field Experiment. Energy Proc 40 (2013)337 – 345. 1876-6102.

Yang, Z., Auli Niemi, Liang Tian, Mikael Erlström (2013) Modelling of far-field pressure plumes for carbon dioxide sequestration. Energy Proc 40, 472 – 480.

Fagerlund, F., Auli Niemi, Jacob Bensabat, Vladimir Shtivelman (2013) Interwell field test to determine in-situ CO2 trapping in a deep saline aquifer: Modelling study of the effects of test design and geological parameters. Energy Proc 40, 554 – 563.  

Niemi et al. (2012). Small-scale CO2 injection into a deep geological formation at Heletz, Israel.  Energy Proc. Volume 23 (504-511)

Book Chapters

Tsang, C-F and Niemi, A. (2017) Chapter 2: Overview of the Processes Occurring during Geological Storage of CO2. In: Niemi, A., Bear, J. and Bensabat, J. (Editors) GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE FORMATIONS. Publisher Springer. 600p. Pp. 415-519.

Niemi,A.,  Zhibing Yang, Jesus Carrera, Henry Power, Christopher Ian McDermott, Dorothee Rebscher, Jan Lennard Wolff, Franz May, Bruno Figuieredo and Victor Vilarrasa (2017) Chapter 4 Mathematical Modeling – Approaches for Model Solution. IN: Niemi, A., Bear, J. and Bensabat, J. (Editors) (2017) GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE FORMATIONS.  Publisher Springer. 600p. pp. 149-207

Niemi, A., Jacob Bensabat, Peter Bergmann, Christopher Juhlin, Alexandru Tatomir, Iulia Ghergut, Martin Sauter, Barry Freifeld, Larry Myer, Christine Doughty, Axel Liebscher, Stefan Lüth, Sonja Martens, Fabian Möller, Cornelia Schmidt-Hattenberger and Martin Streibel (2017) Chapter 8: Field Injection Operations and Monitoring of the Injected CO2 In: Niemi, A., Bear, J. and Bensabat, J. (Editors) GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE FORMATIONS. In Press. Publisher Springer. 600p. Pp. 415-519.

Niemi, A., Katriona Edlmann, Jesus Carrera, Christopher Juhlin, Alexandru Tatomir, Iulia Ghergut, Martin Sauter, Jacob Bensabat, Fritjof Fagerlund, Kristina Rasmusson, Francois H. Cornet, Victor Vilarrasa and Christopher Ian McDermott (2016) Chapter 7: Site Characterization In: Niemi, A., Bear, J. and Bensabat, J. (Editors) (2016) GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE FORMATIONS.  Publisher Springer. 600p. Pp. 342-416


Niemi, A., Bear, J. and Bensabat, J. (Editors) (2017) GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE FORMATIONS. Publisher Springer. 600p.

Special Edition on ‘Characterization of formation properties for geological storage of CO2 - Experiences from the Heletz test CO2 injection site and other sites from the EU project MUSTANG’ , Niemi, Gouze, Bensabat (eds) to Intl Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. (2016). Vol 48.

Kuehn, M., Niemi, al (2013) Guest Editors. Int Jour Greenhouse Gas Control, Special Issue on CO2 geological storage. Elsevier, 2013

Example of High Profile Reports

EASAC (European Academies of Science Advisory Council) (2013) ‘CCS in Europe’. Member of the working group.  (