Application of the Aquifer Impact Model to support decisions at a CO2 sequestration site

Diana Holford Bacon, Randall A. Locke, Elizabeth Keating, Susan Carroll, Abbas Iranmanesh, Kayyum Mansoor, Bracken Wimmer, Liange Zheng, Hongbo Shao, Sallie E. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) has developed a suite of tools to assess and manage risk at CO2 sequestration sites. The NRAP tool suite includes the Aquifer Impact Model (AIM), which evaluates the potential for groundwater impacts from leaks of CO2 and brine through abandoned wellbores. There are two aquifer reduced-order models (ROMs) included with the AIM tool, a confined alluvium aquifer, and an unconfined carbonate aquifer. The models accept aquifer parameters as a range of variable inputs so they may have broad applicability. The generic aquifer models may be used at the early stages of site selection, when site-specific data is not available. Guidelines have been developed for determining when the generic ROMs might be applicable to a new site. This paper considers the application of the AIM to predicting the impact of CO2 or brine leakage were it to occur at the Illinois Basin Decatur Project (IBDP). Results of the model sensitivity analysis can help guide characterization efforts; the hydraulic parameters and leakage source term magnitude are more sensitive than clay fraction or cation exchange capacity. Sand permeability was the only hydraulic parameter measured at the IBDP site. More information on the other hydraulic parameters could reduce uncertainty in risk estimates. Some non-adjustable parameters are significantly different for the ROM than for the observations at the IBDP site. The generic ROMs could be made more useful to a wider range of sites if the initial conditions and no-impact threshold values were adjustable parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1034
Number of pages15
JournalGreenhouse Gases: Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • brine
  • carbon dioxide
  • carbon sequestration
  • groundwater
  • leakage
  • risk analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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