This study shows the application of scaling analysis in the context of CO2 storage. Scaling analysis has been used in many flooding processes to characterize the displacement in such systems. The study aims to derive the key dimensionless numbers pertinent to CO2 storage in saline aquifers. This set of dimensionless numbers may be used to characterize important storage characteristics such as injectivity, plume migration and mobility, the pressure response and the ultimate storage capacity in potential saline aquifers.

CO2 storage in a two-dimensional cross-sectional model representing part of a saline aquifer was considered. The model is assumed to be full of brine when CO2 is injected into it. The fundamental equations for the material conservation of each phase, and the transport equations were formulated and derived. All fluids and the formation were considered compressible. These fundamental equations were then converted into the dimensionless domain by applying inspectional analysis to allow the identification of the key dimensionless numbers characterizing the storage process.

The storage process in such a system can be described by twelve dimensionless numbers, each of which characterize a different aspect of the storage process. Some numbers are similar to those already observed in the context of petroleum processes while a few of them are solely relevant to the storage process. Importantly, the pressure response and the injectivity consideration of the storage process can be described by the injectivity number and the ratio of compressibilities.

A numerical model was constructed to test the sensitivity of the storage process with respect to these dimensionless numbers. Results show the same set of dimensionless numbers can describe storage performance in different systems as long as the processes in all of them are described by identical dimensionless numbers. The lateral migration of the plume and its onset arrival at the storage boundary can be described by the combination of the magnitudes of gravity numbers, effective aspect ratio number, mobility ratio between CO2 and brine and finally the ratio of CO2 and formation compressibilities relative to brine compressibility.

For a confined storage system, the storage efficiency was correlated with the magnitudes of the influencing dimensionless numbers. The derived dimensionless numbers may be used as a set of characterization parameters for describing the storage process in potential storage candidates. They can also be used effectively as a preliminary screening criteria for the purpose of site selection amongst potential storage candidates.

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