Fluids Lab Lead Travis McLing (208) 526-7269

About the Fluids Lab

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The Fluids Laboratory is used primarily as by CAES geothermal and carbon management researchers. It contains several high pressure and temperature “reactors” in which researchers can test a variety of reservoir rocks and fluids at formation-relevant temperatures and pressures. These formation fluids and rocks play a critical role in the development of strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

CAES researchers are also studying how to turn the hot water flowing beneath Idaho into an economical source of geothermal energy. CAES researchers are focusing on enhanced geothermal energy systems – a technology in which fluid is injected into hot, dry rock that has been fractured to extract heat that can be used to generate power.

Research Example: Carbon Sequestration

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Scientists in the Fluids Laboratory are working to understand the chemical reactions between carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the primary greenhouse gases, and basaltic rock to investigate carbon sequestration as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas effects. Certain types of rock, such as basalt, are rich in metallic ions like calcium, magnesium and iron. When CO2 is injected deep into basalt formations, it dissolves in water and reacts with these ions to produce carbonate minerals (such as calcium carbonate). CO2 is thus locked into solid, stable rock. CAES scientists are researching carbon sequestration methods and studying how to capture and store greenhouse gases.

The potential of this process is huge — basalt makes up about 65 percent of the Earth’s crust. According to a recent paper in the journal Energy Procedia, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the United States’ northwest coast could hold up 700 billion tons of CO2 by itself — far more than the 33 billion tons produced by humans every year.

Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Initiative

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A team led by Idaho National Laboratory in coordination with CAES won a Phase 1 award to study the feasibility of establishing an enhanced geothermal system (EGS) field laboratory on the INL site under the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program. Read more in the Projects section.

Additional Research

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-CAES researchers are studying a naturally occurring CO2 system located near Soda Springs, Idaho to better understand how the gas moves through the subsurface, and its impact on groundwater resources.

-CAES/INL scientists are members of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s seven regional carbon sequestration consortiums. Phase III of the project is now underway.

-Researchers are working improving the accuracy of geothermal reservoir temperature predictions, which could help reduce geothermal exploration costs.

Equipment

Horiba X-ray Analytical Microscope XGT-7200

Parr Acid Digestion System with 125 mL Teflon reaction cells

Several Parr Acid Digestion System with 125 mL Teflon reaction cells (Parr Model 4748) – 250 degrees C max., 131 bars (1900 psi) max.

Horiba brand X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer

Horiba brand X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer, Model XGT – 7200

Leica DM 4500 P Optical Petrographic Microscope

Leica DM 4500 P Optical Petrographic Microscope

Leica M80 Reflected Light Microscope

Leica M80 Reflected Light Microscope

MK Rock Saw

MK Rock Saw, producing billets for thin section petrograph samples

SPEX Mill

SPEX Mill Model 8000M (XRD sample preparation)

Fischer Scientific Centrifuge

Fischer Scientific Centrifuge

Cole Parmer – Sonicator cleaner

Cole Parmer – Sonicator cleaner

Parr 1 L bench top pressure reactors with stirrers

Eight Parr 1 L bench top pressure reactors with stirrers

Millipore nanopure water treatment

Millipore nanopure water treatment

6 foot chemical fume hoods

Three – 6 foot chemical fume hoods. One hood is a stainless “rad hood” with a Flanders HEPA canister downstream (empty)

Cascade TEK Hot Air Drying/Reaction

Cascade TEK Hot Air Drying/Reaction Oven – 300 degrees C max

Bio-Reactor/ Fermenter

Bio-Reactor/Fermenter (B. Braun) – 5 liter, temp up to 75 degrees C

CAES collaborative geothermal energy team receives FORGE award

Resources

Fluids Lab Virtual...

Virtual Tour

Fact Sheet | EGS...

Enhance Geothermal Systems