Energy Excursions

Atmospheric Detection

Optical CO2 sensors may be deployed aboveground to monitor release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Common optical sensors are based on infrared spectroscopy or other detection techniques. An infrared sensor measures absorption of infrared radiation along the path of a laser beam or other light source. Carbon dioxide concentration is computed based on the degree of absorption of particular wavelengths.1National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2017). Best practices: Monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) for geologic storage projects. National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. https://netl.doe.gov/sites/default/files/2018-10/BPM-MVA-2012.pdf

Atmospheric Detection Tool Summary

  • Description: Sensors for intermittent or continuous measurement of CO2 in air.
  • Benefits: Sensors can be relatively inexpensive and portable.
  • Challenges: Difficult to distinguish release from natural variations in ambient-CO2 emissions.2National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2017). Best practices: Monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) for geologic storage projects. National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. https://netl.doe.gov/sites/default/files/2018-10/BPM-MVA-2012.pdf

Application

Airborne monitoring technologies were employed as part of a CO2-enhanced oil recovery field project in the Farnsworth Unit Project. The monitoring program employed infrared gas analyzers that can detect both CH4 and CO2. The ruggedized case was mounted as part of an unmanned aerial vehicle platform using the Skywalker X8.3National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2017). Best practices: Monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) for geologic storage projects. National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. https://netl.doe.gov/sites/default/files/2018-10/BPM-MVA-2012.pdf

The Farnsworth Project is located in Ochiltree County, northeastern Texas panhandle, in the Anadarko Basin.4National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2017, July). Farnsworth Unit Project: Pennsylvanian Upper Morrow Formation, Ochiltree County, Texas, Southwest Regional Partnership on Carbon Sequestration. National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.netl.doe.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/Farnsworth-Unit-Project.pdf

The sensor board selected (capable for use in detecting both CH4 and CO2) and the ruggedized case (left) to be mounted as part of the UAV platform (right).5National Energy Technology Laboratory. (2015, January). Surface and airborne monitoring technology for detecting geologic leakage in a CO2-enhanced oil recovery pilot, Anadarko Basin, Texas. National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.netl.doe.gov/sites/default/files/netl-file/FE0012173.pdf

Image Credits

  • sensor board 1: National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • sensor board 2: National Energy Technology Laboratory