Process detects CO2 leaks

Thu, 07/30/2009 - 7:04am

SEQURE Tracer Technology2009 R&D 100 Winner

In order to manage the emissions of carbon dioxide, it will likely be necessary to capture and store large quantities of the high-profile greenhouse gas in the deep subsurface. The success of such a process is dependent on avoiding CO2 emissions and verifying that storage is permanent.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (Pittsburgh, Pa.) SEQURE Tracer Technology is a method that allows the ultrasensitive and source-specific detection of carbon dioxide leakage to the near surface from a geologic storage reservoir. The method involves the addition of perfluorocarbon tracers (PFTs) to the injected CO2 stream in a predetermined proportion depending on the injection rate at the injection wellhead with a small pump that is capable of matching the well’s injection pressure. Two or more tracers can be added simultaneously or at different times to the carbon dioxide.

Tracer monitoring sites are established in the near surface vicinity of the injection well. Both active and passive traces monitoring with penetrometers detect leakage and leakage rates. The use of multiple PFT tracers at a single barrier site can serve to improve the spatial resolution of potential leakage detection.

Method for detection of carbon dioxide leakage

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Award Year



National Energy Technology Laboratory (U.S. Dept. of Energy)


J. Rodney Diehl (Primary)
J. Rodney Diehl (Primary)
R. Diane Newlon (Primary)
Brian Strazisar (Primary)
Arthur Wells (Primary)



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