Abstract

Abstract Sequestration of carbon dioxide in unmineable coal seams is an option to combat climate change and an opportunity to enhance coalbed methane production. Prediction of sequestration potential in coal requires characterization of porosity, permeability, sorption capacity and the magnitude of swelling due to carbon dioxide uptake or shrinkage due to methane and water loss. Unfortunately, the majority of data characterizing coal–gas systems have been obtained from powdered, unconfined coal samples. Little is known about confined coal behavior during carbon dioxide uptake and methane desorption. The present work focuses on the characterization of lithotype specific deformation, and strain behavior during CO 2 uptake at simulated in-situ stress conditions. It includes the evaluation of three-dimensional strain induced by the confining stress, the sorption, and the desorption of carbon dioxide. X-ray computed tomography allowed three-dimensional characterization of the bituminous coal deformation samples under hydrostatic stress. The application of 6.9 MPa of confining stress contributes an average of − 0.34% volumetric strain. Normal strains due to confining stress were − 0.08%, − 0.15% and − 0.11% along the x , y and z axes respectively. Gas injection pressure was 3.1 MPa and the excess sorption was 0.85 mmol/g. Confined coal exposed to CO 2 for 26 days displays an average volumetric expansion of 0.4%. Normal strains due to CO 2 sorption were 0.11%, 0.22% and 0.11% along x , y and z axes. Drainage of the CO 2 induced an average of − 0.33% volumetric shrinkage. Normal strains due to CO 2 desorption were − 0.23%, − 0.08% and − 0.02% along x , y and z axes. Alternating positive and negative strain values observed along the sample length during compression, sorption and desorption respectively emphasized that both localized compression/compaction and expansion of coal will occur during CO 2 sequestration.

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