Carbon Capture & Storage Denial
I recently read an article by an otherwise reputable ‘scientist’ who said that carbon capture and storage (CCS) was impossible because once a reservoir/aquifer had been drained it couldn’t be refilled. For someone who is fighting climate change deniers, who themselves may have fixed beliefs/ignorance, the telling of opposite truths/alternative facts/lies obviously may work on some people, but in the end undermines, so to speak, their own credibility.
The suggestion was that once an oil/gas/water reservoir/aquifer have been drained they close-up and cause surface subsidence. This may be the case for mines that remove large volumes of rock underground and leave voids but to equate this with the removal of fluids from sedimentary layers shows a critical misunderstanding about how grains of sand still retain micro-voids (porosity) but do not collapse and cause subsidence. If it did vast areas of land that have had their hydro-carbon resources overdrawn/depleted would have subsided and caused major rather than minor localised seismic activity near known micro-faulted areas.
Even when coal, carbonate or tight sand sequences are fracked the sand like grains pumped underground open-up sequences to allow liquids/gases to flow in and out under pressure/vacuum. None of the technologies for reversing or enhancing the removal of hydro-carbons is new, it’s been used for half a century. The understanding of geology has been advanced with highly sophisticated geophysical technologies at the surface, e.g., seismic profiling, and underground, e.g., logging tools down drill holes, that has allowed the 3D mapping of most sedimentary basins worldwide. The use of plate tectonics and sedimentary facies modelling has been used for nearly half a century, certainly since I did Geology I in the 80s, and enabled the determination of ancient environments and the correlation of extensive sedimentary sequences/strata on continental scale basins, e.g., Australia’s Great Artesian Basin.
Over many decades there has been the engineered use of managed aquifer recharge and reservoir storage of gas, as well as, excuse pun, the enhanced oil/gas/water recovery of depleted basins. Why water, because in recharging a basin it enhances basin pressure far beyond where it is recharged. As an example, a recent study by the University of Queensland in the Surat Basin (UQ-SDAAP) in 2019 suggests that even though the immediate area of eventual supercritical liquid CO2 may extend ~10km from the point of injection the whole sedimentary sequence for ~100km from the point of injection will be repressurised (~600km2) thereby enhancing water/oil/gas extraction simply by displacing the water already in place.
Understand and accept the science of anthropocentric climate change by all means but also the science of CCS from those who actually know what they’re talking about, because CCS is a critical solution to reaching net zero emissions but more importantly the only permanent, proven and safe technology to deliver net negative emissions from direct air capture (DAC) technologies is essential for removing excess emissions because reaching net zero means locking-in the use and impacts of GHG emissions for 100 years beyond 2050 despite the use of renewables.