Inherent tracers for carbon capture and storage in sedimentary formations: composition and applications

Stephanie Flude, Gareth Johnson, Stuart Gilfillan, Robert Haszeldine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Inherent tracers - the “natural” isotopic and trace gas composition of captured CO₂ streams – are potentially powerful tracers for use in CCS technology. This review outlines for the first time the expected carbon isotope and noble gas compositions of captured CO₂ streams from a range of feedstocks, CO₂-generating processes and carbon capture techniques. The C-isotope composition of captured CO₂ will be most strongly controlled by the feedstock, but significant isotope fractionation is possible during capture; noble gas concentrations will be controlled by the capture technique employed. Comparison with likely baseline data suggests that CO₂ generated from fossil fuel feedstocks will often have δ13C distinguishable from storage reservoir CO₂. Noble gases in amine-captured CO₂ streams are likely to be low concentration, with isotopic ratios dependant on the feedstock, but CO₂ captured from oxyfuel plants may be strongly enriched in Kr and Xe which are potentially valuable subsurface tracers. CO₂ streams derived from fossil fuels will have noble gas isotope ratios reflecting a radiogenic component that will be difficult to distinguish in the storage reservoir, but inheritance of radiogenic components will provide an easily recognisable signature in the case of any unplanned migration into shallow aquifers or to the surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7939-55
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number15
Early online date5 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Carbon
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Noble Gases
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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