Computational Geosciences

, 13:483 | Cite as

Post-injection spreading and trapping of CO2 in saline aquifers: impact of the plume shape at the end of injection

  • Christopher W. MacMinn
  • Ruben JuanesEmail author
Original paper


We use an analytical model for the post-injection spreading of a plume of CO2 in a saline aquifer under the action of buoyancy and capillary trapping to show that the spreading behavior is at all times strongly influenced by the shape of the plume at the end of the injection period. We solve the spreading equation numerically and confirm that, at late times, the volume of mobile CO2 is given by existing asymptotic analytical solutions. The key parameters governing plume spreading are the mobility ratio, M, and the capillary trapping number, Γ—the former sets the shape of the plume at the end of the injection period, and the latter sets the amount of trapping. As a quantitative measure of the dependence of the spreading behavior on the initial shape, we use a volume ratio. That is, we evolve the plume from a true end-of-injection initial shape and also from an idealized “step” initial shape, and we take the ratio of these mobile plume volumes in the asymptotic regime. We find that this volume ratio is a power-law in M, where the exponent is governed exclusively by Γ. For conditions that are representative of geologic CO2 sequestration, the ratio of mobile volumes between “true” and “step” initial plume shapes can be 50% or higher.


Porous media flow CO2 sequestration Capillary trapping Residual trapping Gravity current Similarity solution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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