Constraining the effectiveness of inherent tracers of captured CO2 for tracing CO2 leakage: Demonstration in a controlled release site

Yeo Jin Ju, Domokos Györe, Stuart M.V. Gilfillan, Seong Sun Lee, Ilryoung Cho, Seung Wook Ha, Won Tak Joun, Hyun Ji Kang, Hyun Kwon Do, Dugin Kaown, Finlay M. Stuart, Doshik Hahm, Keyhong Park, Seong Taek Yun, Kang Kun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) is an integral component of cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions reduction scenarios. However, a robust monitoring regime is necessary for public and regulatory assurance that any leakage from a storage site can be detected. Here, we present the results from a controlled CO2 release experiment undertaken at the K-COSEM test site (South Korea) with the aim of demonstrating the effectiveness of the inherent tracer fingerprints (noble gases, δ13C) in monitoring CO2 leakage. Following injection of 396 kg CO2(g) into a shallow aquifer, gas release was monitored for 2 months in gas/water phases in and above the injection zone. The injection event resulted in negative concentration changes of the dissolved gases, attributed to the stripping action of the depleted CO2. Measured fingerprints from inherent noble gases successfully identified solubility-trapping of the injected CO2 within the shallow aquifer. The δ13C within the shallow aquifer could not resolve the level of gas trapping, due to the interaction with heterogeneous carbonate sources in the shallow aquifer. The time-series monitoring of δ13CDIC and dissolved gases detected the stripping action of injected CO2(g), which can provide an early warning of CO2 arrival. This study highlights that inherent noble gases can effectively trace the upwardly migrating and fate of CO2 within a shallow aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153835
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study has been supported by a Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) grant entitled “R&D Project on Environmental Management of Geologic CO 2 Storage” (Project Number: 2018001810002 ), by a Korea Polar Research Institute grant ( PE21110 ), by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2021R1C1C2006554 ) and, by Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through “Activation of remediation technologies by application of multiple tracing techniques for remediation of groundwater in fractured rocks” funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (Grant number: 20210024800002/1485017890 ). We thank all the members of the K-COSEM team and, appreciate Intae Kim and Minjung Kim for their efforts and support on noble gas analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • CO leakage
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Inherent tracers
  • Monitoring
  • Noble gas
  • Solubility-trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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