Research Projects

Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research – SCCER-SoE – sponsored by Innosuisse

The Chair is actively participating to the activities of the SCCER-SoE. The goal of the consortium is to perform innovative research in the context of geo-energy and hydropower. In particular the Chair is contributing to the work package 1 (WP1), leaded by Prof. Lyesse Laloui, with scientific activities in the context of carbon dioxide sequestration. Experimental studies are currently carried out to investigate shaly caprock formations. Numerical analyses are also performed to forecast seismicity induced by fluid injection and production.

ELEGANCY – Enabling a Low-Carbon Economy via Hydrogen and CCS

This project is part of the European initiative ACT (Accelerating CCS Technologies) to facilitate research, development, and innovation in the context of carbon capture storage (CCS) and utilization. The Elegancy project aims at combining CCS with hydrogen production; as large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) are obtained during the production of hydrogen, CCS is needed to keep the hydrogen energy source clean. The Swiss partners are participating to the Elegancy project through the SCCER-SoE by performing an in-situ experiment to assess the sealing capacity and integrity of a faulted caprock formation. The experiment is planned in the Mont Terri URL and aims at analysing the physical phenomena controlling the migration of CO2-rich brine in the faulted caprock, along with the impact on mechanical and transport properties of the damaged caprock. The Chair is contributing to the project with experimental activities at the laboratory scale to characterize the material (Opalinus Clay) extracted from the drilled boreholes for injection and monitoring. Parameters governing the mechanical response and the transport of CO2-rich brine in the Opalinus Clay are investigated to provide consistent data for the performance of numerical simulation. The experimental activities are carried out in collaboration with ETH Zurich, and Imperial College London.

Using modelling-monitoring loop to demonstrate storage performance in terms of seismicity induced by fluid injection – sponsored by SFOE

Waste water injection in sedimentary sequences has been seen to cause induced seismicity in the basement rocks below. This seismicity may also pose a threat to potential CO2 sequestration operations. Switzerland, especially, has already had problems with induced seismicity. The most notable case being in Basel in 2006, when magnitude 3+ earthquakes were induced during EGS stimulation and were enough to bring the project to a halt. Clearly, the magnitude 5+ earthquakes seen during waste water injection can therefore also pose a threat. The chair “Gaz Naturel” performs quantitative seismic risk analysis accounting for the lithology differences between the sedimentary sequences where injection is occurring and the crystalline basement rock below. 

CS-C Experiment: Experimental assessment of shale properties for safe geological CO2 storage – sponsored by Mont Terri consortium (Swisstopo)

The storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in underground reservoir formation strongly relies on the presence of impermeable caprock formations to prevent the migration of CO2 towards the surface. Shales are considered among the best candidates caprock formation due to their low permeability, high water retention properties, and self-sealing capacity. The goal of this project is the experimental assessment of the sealing capacity and integrity of the Opalinus Clay that is considered as representative shale caprock formation. Swisstopo ( Mont Terri project ) and FANC are partners of this project.