Accessibility of pores in coal to methane and carbon dioxide

Melnichenko, Yuri B., He, Lilin, Sakurovs, Richard, Kholodenko, Arkady L., Blach, Tomasz, Mastalerz, Maria, Radliński, Andrzej P., Cheng, Gang, & Mildner, David F.R. (2012) Accessibility of pores in coal to methane and carbon dioxide. Fuel: the science and technology of fuel and energy, 91(1), pp. 200-208.

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Fluid–solid interactions in natural and engineered porous solids underlie a variety of technological processes, including geological storage of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, enhanced coal bed methane recovery, membrane separation, and heterogeneous catalysis. The size, distribution and interconnectivity of pores, the chemical and physical properties of the solid and fluid phases collectively dictate how fluid molecules migrate into and through the micro- and meso-porous media, adsorb and ultimately react with the solid surfaces. Due to the high penetration power and relatively short wavelength of neutrons, smallangle neutron scattering (SANS) as well as ultra small-angle scattering (USANS) techniques are ideally suited for assessing the phase behavior of confined fluids under pressure as well as for evaluating the total porosity in engineered and natural porous systems including coal. Here we demonstrate that SANS and USANS can be also used for determining the fraction of the pore volume that is actually accessible to fluids as a function of pore sizes and study the fraction of inaccessible pores as a function of pore size in three coals from the Illinois Basin (USA) and Bowen Basin (Australia). Experiments were performed at CO2 and methane pressures up to 780 bar, including pressures corresponding to zero average contrast condition (ZAC), which is the pressure where no scattering from the accessible pores occurs. Scattering curves at the ZAC were compared with the scattering from same coals under vacuum and analysed using a newly developed approach that shows that the volume fraction of accessible pores in these coals varies between �90% in the macropore region to �30% in the mesopore region and the variation is distinctive for each of the examined coals. The developed methodology may be also applied for assessing the volume of accessible pores in other natural underground formations of interest for CO2 sequestration, such as saline aquifers as well as for estimating closed porosity in engineered porous solids of technological importance.

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ID Code: 70352
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Coal, Accessible pores, CO2, Methane, Small-angle neutron scattering
DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2011.06.026
ISSN: 0016-2361
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: � 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Deposited On: 22 Apr 2014 05:11
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2014 01:20

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