Research is active on the patented technology "Distributed Optical Sensor for CO2 Leak Detection". This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
The availability of fossil fuels to provide clean, affordable energy is essential for domestic and global prosperity and security well into the 21st century. However, there are concerns over the impacts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere—particularly carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon capture and storage in geologic formations is a promising technology to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions on the environment. Monitoring capabilities that are reliable and cost effective are needed to confirm permanent storage of CO2 in geologic formations. Improved monitoring technologies are needed for surface, near-surface, and subsurface applications to ensure that injection, abandoned, and monitoring wells are structurally sound and that CO2 will remain within the injection formation.
NETL has developed a CO2 injection basin leakage detection system using miniaturized laser sensors with optical fibers. The invention will make measurements of elemental content and chemical composition in gases, liquids, and on solids, and will allow the monitoring and reporting of possible CO2 leaks within the environments of interest. The sensors use two laser-based methods: laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and RAMAN spectroscopy (named for the scientist C. V. Raman). LIBS can be used to measure elemental composition and RAMAN spectroscopy provides a fingerprint by which chemical compounds can be identified. Sensors can be distributed widely either above ground or down hole to monitor for the presence of CO2 or to detect characteristic changes in the ground water contents that may indicate leakage from a CO2 injection site.
U.S. Patent No: 8,786,840
Title: A Method and Device for Remotely Monitoring an Area Using a Low Peak Power Optical Pump
Inventors: Steven Woodruff, Dustin McIntyre, Jinesh Jain
NETL Reference No: 11N-06