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Pore-scale Dynamics for Underground Porous Media Hydrogen Storage


Underground hydrogen storage (UHS) has been launched as a catalyst to the low-carbon energy transitions. The limited understanding of the subsurface processes is a major obstacle for rapid and widespread UHS implementation. We use microfluidics to experimentally describe pore-scale multiphase hydrogen flow in an aquifer storage scenario. In a series of drainage-imbibition experiments we report the effect of capillary number on hydrogen saturations, displacement/trapping mechanisms, dissolution kinetics and contact angle hysteresis. We find that the hydrogen saturation after injection (drainage) increases with increasing capillary number. During hydrogen withdrawal (imbibition) two distinct mechanisms control the displacement and residual trapping – I1 and I2 imbibition mechanisms, respectively. Local hydrogen dissolution kinetics show dependency on injection rate and hydrogen cluster size. Dissolved global hydrogen concentration corresponds up to 28 % of reported hydrogen solubility, indicating pore-scale non-equilibrium dissolution. Contact angles show hysteresis and vary between 17 and 56°. Our results provide key UHS experimental data to improve understanding of hydrogen multiphase flow behavior.

Funding source: The authors would like to thank the Department of Physics and Technology, the University of Bergen for financial support.
Countries: Norway

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