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Enhanced coal bed methane recovery finalized to carbon dioxide storage: study of the adsorption and swelling phenomena, and of the coal bed dynamics

English title Enhanced coal bed methane recovery finalized to carbon dioxide storage: study of the adsorption and swelling phenomena, and of the coal bed dynamics
Applicant Mazzotti Marco
Number 107657
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Verfahrenstechnik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Chemical Engineering
Start/End 01.04.2005 - 31.03.2007
Approved amount 127'244.00
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Keywords (5)

Supercritical fluids; Adsorption thermodynamics; Enhanced coal bed methane recovery; Carbon dioxide capture and storage; Adsorption desorption dynamics in coal beds

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases has been rising steadily in the last years. Of particular concern are the CO2 emissions, which are considered one of the major contributors to global warming. The effects of the warmer climate include, melting of ice caps, warming of the sea surface temperature and an increase in the intensity of precipitations and related phenomena, e.g. hurricanes. In order to achieve the required reduction in CO2 emissions, several actions have to be taken and the CO2 capture and storage techniques could play an important role to solve this problem. Enhanced Coal Bed Methane recovery (ECBM) is a process, which allows recovering methane from a coal seam by carbon dioxide injection. Due to higher adsorptivity of carbon dioxide with respect to methane, the carbon dioxide stays in the coal seam and displaces the adsorbed methane. In the end the coal seam contains mainly carbon dioxide which can be stored for geological times. ECBM is therefore attractive from two perspectives. On the one hand, if one is interested in the recovered methane as energy source, ECBM allows also for a net CO2 sequestration, thanks to the above mentioned high CO2 adsorptivity. On the other hand, if the goal is that of storing CO2 that has been captured, e.g. in a power plant, the ECBM operation makes it also possible to recover methane, thus making CO2 storage economically interesting. Currently there are a few field tests in progress, which improve our understanding of the flow and retention mechanisms in the coal seam. However, there is still a limited understanding of fundamental issues related to ECBM. Of particular concern is the change in volume of the coal under adsorption conditions, which, in turn affects the porosity and the permeability of the bed. As a first step towards a better understanding of ECBM, this project focuses mainly on three aspects: the experimental characterization of pure and multicomponent competitive adsorption of CO2 and CH4 on coal, the study of the volumetric changes of the coal matrix caused by sorption of these gases and the measurement of the coal dynamic behavior under injection of CO2. For the adsorption measurements a Magnetic Suspension Balance (Rubotherm, Germany) is used. The swelling experiments are performed in a view cell, which has been used previously to study the expansion of polymers. For the dynamic experiments an especially designed setup is used that allows performing breakthrough experiments on a sample, which is confined under a hydrostatic external pressure. The results from the three parts described above can finally be combined to produce a detailed model of the whole system including the adsorption of injected CO2 and desorption of CH4. These simulations will allow to improve our understanding of the flow and retention mechanisms in the coal seam and to design a successful ECBM operation.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
67989 Competitive adsorption and preparative chromatography at supercritical conditions 01.10.2002 Project funding (Div. I-III)
115863 Design and development of the mineral carbonation process for the storage of carbon dioxide captured from point sources 01.02.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
130186 Study of adsorption-based carbon dioxide capture and storage systems under wet conditions 01.04.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)

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