Ben Weideman, a sophomore in petroleum engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is experimenting with ways to trap carbon dioxide waste in underground wells.
Carbon dioxide emissions, such as those from power plants and oil companies, can be captured, processed, and injected into deep wells. Ultimately, the idea is to store the emissions permanently in natural geological formations.
During the injection process, concrete is used to maintain stability and to keep fluids from escaping along wellbore walls. But it is not fully understood how the concrete would respond to shifting temperatures within the wells over time.
Weideman is testing cement compositions to determine carbon dioxide permeability at various temperature ranges. He is working with Dr. Runar Nygaard, an assistant professor of petroleum engineering at Missouri S&T.
Weideman’s research will determine what concrete composition is best suited for use in sequestering the carbon dioxide waste underground.
To vary the composition, Weideman is experimenting with different percentages of Bentonite gel, a viscosity modifying agent that can change the density of the concrete. Even small changes in the percentage of Bentonite make a significant difference.
Weideman is working on this project as part of a program at Missouri S&T that provides research opportunities to undergraduate students. His project will conclude with a paper containing the results of his research and a poster presentation.