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Hydromechanical impacts of CO2 storage in coal seams of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (Poland)

Wetzel, Maria, Otto, Christopher, Chen, Min, Masum, Shakil ORCID:, Thomas, Hywel ORCID:, Urych, Tomasz, Bezak, Bartlomiej and Kempka, Thomas 2023. Hydromechanical impacts of CO2 storage in coal seams of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (Poland). Energies 16 (7) , 3279. 10.3390/en16073279

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Deep un-mineable coal deposits are viable reservoirs for permanent and safe storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) due to their ability to adsorb large amounts of CO2 in the microporous coal structure. A reduced amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere contributes in turn to the mitigation of climate change. However, there are a number of geomechanical risks associated with the commercial-scale storage of CO2, such as potential fault or fracture reactivation, microseismic events, cap rock integrity or ground surface uplift. The present study assesses potential site-specific hydromechanical impacts for a coal deposit of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin by means of numerical simulations. For that purpose, a near-field model is developed to simulate the injection and migration of CO2, as well as the coal-CO2 interactions in the vicinity of horizontal wells along with the corresponding changes in permeability and stresses. The resulting effective stress changes are then integrated as boundary condition into a far-field numerical model to study the geomechanical response at site-scale. An extensive scenario analysis is carried out, consisting of 52 simulation runs, whereby the impacts of injection pressures, well arrangement within two target coal seams as well as the effect of different geological uncertainties (e.g., regional stress regime and rock properties) is examined for operational and post-operational scenarios. The injection-induced vertical displacements amount in maximum to 3.59 cm and 1.07 cm directly above the coal seam and at the ground surface, respectively. The results further demonstrate that neither fault slip nor dilation, as a potential consequence of slip, are to be expected during the investigated scenarios. Nevertheless, even if fault integrity is not compromised, dilation tendencies indicate that faults may be hydraulically conductive and could represent local pathways for upward fluid migration. Therefore, the site-specific stress regime has to be determined as accurately as possible by in-situ stress measurements, and also fault properties need to be accounted for an extensive risk assessment. The present study obtained a quantitative understanding of the geomechanical processes taking place at the operational and post-operational states, supporting the assessment and mitigation of environmental risks associated with CO2 storage in coal seams.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1996-1073
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 4 April 2023
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:09

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