Quantifying CO2 leak rates in aquatic environments

Roberts, Jennifer J and Feitz, Andrew J and Anderson, Jade and Schroder, Ivan F (2019) Quantifying CO2 leak rates in aquatic environments. In: 14th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, 2018-10-21 - 2018-10-26.

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    The Daylesford region of Victoria (Australia), is a region of natural CO2 seepage. Small bubble streams of CO2 are released into ephemeral river beds proximal to mineral springs that contain high dissolved CO2 content. We study four sites of CO2 degassing to (i) establish the characteristics of CO2 seepage caused by transport to surface of CO2-rich water, (ii) provide an estimate of CO2 flux in the region, and (iii) investigate seasonal effects on CO2 seepage. We observe that bubbling behavior varies considerably between sites, including the number and distribution of bubbling points, and bubble stream the continuity. Total CO2 seep rates at each site were low (< 20 kg/d) but varied substantially between different sites. There were no obvious indicators of total emission rate; the bubble density or other characteristics at the highest emission seep were not remarkably different to the smaller seeps. We find that the total CO2 emission varies inconsistently with season, with some seep rates increasing and other decreasing in the dry season when water levels are lower. We find there are challenges in quantifying the total gas leakage at sites of highly localized and intermittent degassing. Our work has implications for detecting and quantifying leaks from engineered CO2 storage sites which emerge in aqueous environments, which could be these are marine or terrestrial (lakes or rivers).