High sensitivity CO2 monitor for CO2 geological sequestration efficiency monitoring

Canadian prosperity is currently linked to revenue generated from processes that produce large volumes of greenhouse gasses as a by-product. Under evidence that the human fingerprint on our planet is in direct correlation to global climate change, the monitoring and control of greenhouse gas emissions has become a subject of recent focus among many sciences. Recently, legislation has been imposed throughout Canada to control and regulate CO2 emissions that are
tied so closely to Canada’s economic success. The province of Alberta has an estimated oil reserve of 1.7 trillion barrels with 174 million recoverable through a carbon heavy approach that produces large volumes of by-product CO2e gasses. As a result of this industry, Alberta leads Canada in GHG production with 223 MT of GHG emissions in 2004 that accounts for 38% of Canada’s total carbon footprint. Geological sequestration of CO2 will be used to compensate for the expected increase of Alberta oilsand extraction and processing from current levels of 1.2 million barrels per day to an estimated 5 million barrels per day in 2030.

In order for geological sequestration to succeed as an emission offset in Alberta, the CO2 injected deep into the earth must remain intact. The monitoring of CO2 is particularly difficult due to the large background concentration of CO2 normally present in the atmosphere. The large geological areas associated with carbon capture and storage operations complicates the problem. Low cost tuneable laser diode absorption spectroscopy systems traditionally suffer from the low spectral overtone absorptions common from the near infrared spectral region. Two new systems have been developed to aid in the quantification of CO2 emissions that will help in determining the efficiency of geological sequestration of CO2 gas by analyzing ground seepage of CO2. Three case studies are presented that involve CO2 sequestration facilities, CO2 emissions from geological fissures, and CO2 emissions from a coal fired power plant.

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