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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On Leakage from Geologic Storage Reservoirs of CO2

  • Author(s): Pruess, Karsten;
  • et al.

Large amounts of CO2 would need to be injected underground to achieve a significant reduction of atmospheric emissions. The large areal extent expected for CO2 plumes makes it likely that caprock imperfections will be encountered, such as fault zones or fractures, which may allow some CO2 to escape from the primary storage reservoir. Leakage of CO2 could also occur along wellbores. Concerns with escape of CO2 from a primary geologic storage reservoir include (1) acidification of groundwater resources, (2) asphyxiation hazard when leaking CO2 is discharged at the land surface, (3) increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, and (4) damage from a high-energy, eruptive discharge (if such discharge is physically possible). In order to gain public acceptance for geologic storage as a viable technology for reducing atmospheric emissions of CO2, it is necessary to address these issues and demonstrate that CO2 can be injected and stored safely in geologic formations.

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