CO2 Geosequestration

CO2 geosequestration

Our CO2 Geosequestration research group investigates geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a potential way to mitigate global warming and climate change. To meet global energy demands, we will continue to use fossil fuels for many decades to come, but burning these fossil fuels produces CO2 which causes global warming. Sequestration of CO2 into subsurface formations will provide an indefinite storage for CO2. Our research group focuses on:

  • Large scale static and flow modelling of CO2 sequestration projects;
  • CO2-brine relative permeability measurements;
  • Establishing monitoring protocol for CO2 sequestration projects; and
  • Co-optimization of CO2 storage and oil recovery.

A summary of current projects is below:


Basin Scale modelling of CO2 Sequestration

Effective carbon storage in subsurface rocks requires good estimates of the potential reservoir properties of the sedimentary basins involved. Our multidisciplinary team works to decipher the timing of the processes creating and altering basins and their sediments. We map important erosional events that can potentially seal in CO2 and develop tools to automatically detect such horizons in seismic data and create models of the subsurface. The geologic model is then integrated with laboratory measured flow functions. From these models, we can estimate the storage capacity, CO2 injectivity and trapping. 

Academic Contact: Dr Stuart Clark

Related Publications:

Vibe et al., 2018,

Bugge et al., 2018,

Vibe et al., 2018,

Said et al., 2015,

Hussain et al., 2013., RPT13-4161. 54pp


CO2-brine relative permeability measurements

UNSW houses two high pressure, high temperature relative permeability set-ups. Laboratory measurements provide flow functions (relative permeability) to the Basin scale modelling team. Currently, our team is investigating: (1) ways to correct capillary end-effects in the measured relative permeability, (2) effect of fines migration and mineral dissolution on drainage relative permeability, and (3) relative permeability hysteresis.   

Academic Contact: Dr Furqan Hussain

Related Publications: 

Othman et al., 2019,

Zou et al., 2018,

Othman et al., 2018,

Fahad et al., 2017,

Hussain et al., 2012,


Monitoring Guidelines for CO2 Sequestration

For a CO2 Sequestration project to be successful, the injected CO2 must remain trapped in the storage formation. However, implications of large scale CO2 injection are beyond the experience of existing geosequestration projects. Monitoring of the injected CO2 is required to ensure safety of the project. Our team is developing methods for remote monitoring. Multispectral and hyperspectral images are used to detect changes in the land and vegetation. Microwave satellite images are utilised to detect any ground deformations. Finally, a GIS based integrated strategy has been deployed to identify potential threat zones using various data such as previously surveyed groundwater levels and hydrochemistry datasets.   

Academic Contact: Dr Simit Raval

Related Publications: 

Banerjee et al., 2018,  

Shamsoddini and Raval, 2018,

Banerjee et al., 2017a,

Banerjee et al., 2017b,

Hussain et al., 2016,


Disposal of Produced Water

This study addresses the problems associated with underground disposal of water produced from geosequestration, petroleum and coal seam gas projects. This water can be injected in an underground formation. However, if the chemistry of the injected water is different from the native water in the underground formation, fines migration can reduce the water injectivity significantly. We use integrated laboratory and simulation techniques to find ways to maximize water injectivity.

Academic Contact: Dr Furqan Hussain

Related Publications: 

Yu et al., 2019,

Yu et al., 2018,

Hussain et al., 2013,  


Co-optimization of CO2 storage and oil recovery

Injecting of CO2 in oil reservoir has two advantages: firstly, we are storing CO2 in the subsurface formation, thus controlling CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Secondly, we are producing oil which we can sell. Our team utilizes laboratory experiments and numerical simulations to: (1) find ways to reduce miscibility pressure, and (2) increase sweep efficiency by reducing CO2 mobility.

Academic Contact: Dr Furqan Hussain

Related Publications: 

Kamali and Hussain., 2017,  

Al-Riyami et al., 2017,  

Kamali et al., 2017,

Kamali et al., 2015,


Prospective Research Students 

We are looking for candidates with strong mathematical and engineering background to join our PhD program. We are keen to recruit students in any of the following areas:

  • Laboratory and Numerical modelling of supercritical and gaseous CO2 flow in aquifers,
  • Enhanced miscibility during CO2-EOR,
  • Monitoring Guidelines for CO2 Sequestration, and
  • Basin scale modelling of CO2 sequestration.