News Release

Release Date: February 11, 2016

New Carbon Storage Risk Monitoring Tools Released for Testing


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Seven new technology tools that can help predict long-term risks of large-scale carbon storage operations are being beta-tested by carbon capture and storage researchers and the industrial community.

The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP), led by the U.S.  Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), developed the simulation tools, which are designed to help evaluate environmental risks of carbon storage containment systems. Successful deployment will enable users to predict the safety and permanence of carbon storage systems based on two major types of environmental risks: leakage and induced seismicity.

The tools, described briefly below, are useful in exploring the behavior of several key components of the carbon storage system, including storage reservoirs, seals, wells, and groundwater aquifers.

The flagship product of the toolset is NRAP’s Integrated Assessment Model for Carbon Storage (NRAP-IAM-CS), which can be used to assess the probability of unwanted leakage of carbon dioxide (CO2) and brine and to simulate behavior within the full storage system, from the reservoir to the atmosphere.  In addition to NRAP-IAM-CS, the NRAP project team generated several component tools that allow users to test the behavior of specific components of the system, such as reservoir performance, well and seal leakage, groundwater impacts, or induced seismicity behavior.

The new tools are now undergoing extensive review from volunteer beta-testers, who comprise a range of potential stakeholders, including members from industry, regulatory agencies, universities, and other research organizations, such as the NETL-managed Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships. The NRAP project team will then implement improvements based on the beta-testers’ feedback, with the final tool release expected by fall 2016.

The following is a list of the tools and a general description of their function:

  • NRAP Integrated Assessment Model–Carbon Storage (NRAP-IAM-CS) simulates long-term behavior of the full carbon storage system, generates risk profiles, quantitatively estimates storage permanence, and identifies key drivers of risk.
  • Reservoir Evaluation and Visualization (REV) Tool generates CO2 plume size and pressure differential (an important indicator for potential unwanted fluid migration from the storage reservoir) over time and visualizes probable reservoir behavior.
  • Wellbore Leakage Analysis Tool (WLAT) evaluates existing wells for leakage potential and explores leakage response based on the characteristics of the well.
  • Natural Seal ROM (NSealR) evaluates the impact of potential breaches in seals on migration of fluids (CO2 or brine) outside of the primary target zone.
  • Aquifer Impact Model (AIM) rapidly estimates volumes of an aquifer impacted if a CO2 or brine leak occurs. 
  • Design for Risk Evaluation and Monitoring (DREAM) evaluates and selects optimal monitoring designs for long-term CO2 storage.
  • Short Term Seismic Forecasting (STSF) forecasts the likelihood that seismic events will occur and how often, over the short term, in response to active CO2 injection.  

NRAP is an NETL-led consortium that draws on expertise from across the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratory complex. The consortium involves five national laboratories: NETL (Office of Fossil Energy), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (National Nuclear Security Administration), Los Alamos National Laboratory (National Nuclear Security Administration), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Office of Science) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Office of Science).

To learn more about NRAP and the new tool set, please visit the NRAP website.


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