The effect of carbon dioxide leaked from geological storage site on soil fertility: A study on artificial leakage

Seung Han Baek, Sang Woo Lee, Woo Chun Lee, Seong Taek Yun, Soon Oh Kim

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Carbon dioxide has been known to be a typical greenhouse gas causing global warming, and a number of efforts have been proposed to reduce its concentration in the atmosphere. Among them, carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) has been taken into great account to accomplish the target reduction of carbon dioxide. In order to commercialize the CCS, its safety should be secured. In particular, if the stored carbon dioxide is leaked in the arable land, serious problems could come up in terms of crop growth. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of carbon dioxide leaked from storage sites on soil fertility. The leakage of carbon dioxide was simulated using the facility of its artificial injection into soils in the laboratory. Several soil chemical properties, such as pH, cation exchange capacity, electrical conductivity, the concentrations of exchangeable cations, nitrogen (N) (total-N, nitrate-N, and ammonia-N), phosphorus (P) (total-P and available-P), sulfur (S) (total-S and available-S), available-boron (B), and the contents of soil organic matter, were monitored as indicators of soil fertility during the period of artificial injection of carbon dioxide. Two kinds of soils, such as non-cultivated and cultivated soils, were compared in the artificial injection tests, and the latter included maize- and soybean-cultivated soils. The non-cultivated soil (NCS) was sandy soil of 42.6% porosity, the maize-cultivated soil (MCS) and soybean-cultivated soil (SCS) were loamy sand having 46.8% and 48.0% of porosities, respectively. The artificial injection facility had six columns: one was for the control without carbon dioxide injection, and the other five columns were used for the injections tests. Total injection periods for NCS and MCS/SCS were 60 and 70 days, respectively, and artificial rainfall events were simulated using one pore volume after the 12-day injection for the NCS and the 14-day injection for the MCS/SCS. After each rainfall event, the soil fertility indicators were measured for soil and leachate solution, and they were compared before and after the injection of carbon dioxide. The results indicate that the residual concentrations of exchangeable cations, total-N, total-P, the content of soil organic matter, and electrical conductivity were not likely to be affected by the injection of carbon dioxide. However, the residual concentrations of nitrate-N, ammonia-N, available-P, available-S, and available-B tended to decrease after the carbon dioxide injection, indicating that soil fertility might be reduced. Meanwhile, soil pH did not seem to be influenced due to the buffering capacity of soils, but it is speculated that a long-term leakage of carbon dioxide might bring about soil acidification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
JournalEconomic and Environmental Geology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 The KSEEG. Printed by Hanrimwon Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  • Artificial injection test
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Geological storage
  • Leakage
  • Soil fertility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology


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