Using ground and intact coal Samples to evaluate hydrocarbon fate during supercritical CO2 injection into coal beds: effects of particle size and coal moisture

Energy & Fuels
By: , and 



To investigate the potential for mobilizing organic compounds from coal beds during geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) storage (sequestration), a series of solvent extractions using dichloromethane (DCM) and using supercritical CO2 (40 °C and 10 MPa) were conducted on a set of coal samples collected from Louisiana and Ohio. The coal samples studied range in rank from lignite A to high volatile A bituminous, and were characterized using proximate, ultimate, organic petrography, and sorption isotherm analyses. Sorption isotherm analyses of gaseous CO2 and methane show a general increase in gas storage capacity with coal rank, consistent with findings from previous studies. In the solvent extractions, both dry, ground coal samples and moist, intact core plug samples were used to evaluate effects of variations in particle size and moisture content. Samples were spiked with perdeuterated surrogate compounds prior to extraction, and extracts were analyzed via gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The DCM extracts generally contained the highest concentrations of organic compounds, indicating the existence of additional hydrocarbons within the coal matrix that were not mobilized during supercritical CO2 extractions. Concentrations of aliphatic and aromatic compounds measured in supercritical CO2 extracts of core plug samples generally are lower than concentrations in corresponding extracts of dry, ground coal samples, due to differences in particle size and moisture content. Changes in the amount of extracted compounds and in surrogate recovery measured during consecutive supercritical CO2extractions of core plug samples appear to reflect the transition from a water-wet to a CO2-wet system. Changes in coal core plug mass during supercritical CO2 extraction range from 3.4% to 14%, indicating that a substantial portion of coal moisture is retained in the low-rank coal samples. Moisture retention within core plug samples, especially in low-rank coals, appears to inhibit accessibility of supercritical CO2 to coal matrix porosity, limiting the extent to which hydrocarbons are mobilized. Conversely, the enhanced recovery of some surrogates from core plugs relative to dry, ground coal samples might indicate that, once mobilized, supercritical CO2 is capable of transporting these constituents through coal beds. These results underscore the need for using intact coal samples, and for better characterization of forms of water in coal, to understand fate and transport of organic compounds during supercritical CO2 injection into coal beds.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using ground and intact coal Samples to evaluate hydrocarbon fate during supercritical CO2 injection into coal beds: effects of particle size and coal moisture
Series title Energy & Fuels
DOI 10.1021/ef502611d
Volume 29
Issue 8
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 5187
Last page 5203
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N