Coal samples of different rank (lignite to anthracite) were extracted in the laboratory with supercritical CO2 (40 ??C; 10 MPa) to evaluate the potential for mobilizing non-methane hydrocarbons during CO2 storage (sequestration) or enhanced coal bed methane recovery from deep (???1-km depth) coal beds. The total measured alkane concentrations mobilized from the coal samples ranged from 3.0 to 64 g tonne-1 of dry coal. The highest alkane concentration was measured in the lignite sample extract; the lowest was measured in the anthracite sample extract. Substantial concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were also mobilized from these samples: 3.1 - 91 g tonne-1 of dry coal. The greatest amounts of PAHs were mobilized from the high-volatile bituminous coal samples. The distributions of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons mobilized from the coal samples also varied with rank. In general, these variations mimicked the chemical changes that occur with increasing degrees of coalification and thermal maturation. For example, the amount of PAHs mobilized from coal samples paralleled the general trend of bitumen formation with increasing coal rank. The coal samples yielded hydrocarbons during consecutive extractions with supercritical CO2, although the amount of hydrocarbons mobilized declined with each successive extraction. These results demonstrate that the potential for supercritical CO2 to mobilize non-methane hydrocarbons from coal beds, and the effect of coal rank on this process, are important to consider when evaluating deep coal beds for CO2 storage.
Additional publication details
Geochemical investigation of the potential for mobilizing non-methane hydrocarbons during carbon dioxide storage in deep coal beds