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ESE Seminar - Lauren E. Beckingham: Mineral Reaction Rates and Permeability Evolution in Subsurface Energy Systems

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Event Details:

Lauren Beckingham

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Auburn University

This meeting is in Room 104 and can also be viewed in Room 014


Mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions occur in porous media as a result of natural weathering processes, environmental pollution (such as acid mine drainage), and emerging applications utilizing the subsurface in energy systems including energy storage and geologic CO2 sequestration. These reactions can have large impacts on formation properties, including porosity and permeability. However, the rate and impact of these reactions are not well understood resulting in orders of magnitude discrepancies between laboratory and field measured reaction rates which translates into limited predictive capabilities of subsurface permeability evolution. In this work, multi-scale imaging is combined with laboratory experiments and pore-to-core scale reactive transport simulations to enhance understanding and simulation of mineral reaction rates in porous media and corresponding changes in porosity and permeability. Mineral reactive surface areas and pore network structures, extracted from 2D SEM, 3D X-ray CT, and FIB-SEM imaging, are used in pore and continuum scale reactive transport simulations. This unique combination of imaging and simulations yields a more accurate depiction of mineral reaction rates in porous media, as validated through core-flood experiments, and increased understanding of porosity-permeability relationships. Overall, we find accessible mineral surface area better reflects mineral reactive surface area in porous media compared to traditional approximation approaches and permeability evolution depends on the spatial distribution of reactions within the pore network.


Overview of L.E. Beckingham's research which focuses on pore-to-core scale interactions and
processes leveraging a combined imaging, experimental, and simulation approach.


Lauren E. Beckingham is an Associate Professor and Ginn Faculty Achievement Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Prior to joining Auburn, she was a Geochemical Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her expertise and interests are in understanding water−rock interactions in environmental systems, particularly in subsurface energy systems including geologic CO2 sequestration and compressed energy storage. She is a recipient of an ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, 2019 NSF CAREER award, 2022 DOE Early Career Research Program Award and 2021 Applied Geochemistry Emerging Investigator Award from the International Association of GeoChemistry.

References and Related Papers

Asadi, P., Beckingham, L.E. Intelligent framework for mineral segmentation and fluid-accessible surface area analysis in scanning electron microscopy. Appl Geochem, 2022. DOI: 10.1017/j.apgeochem.2022.105387

Salek, Md.F.; Qin, F.; Asadi, P.; Iloejesi, C.; Brunhoeber, O.; Mahmood, M.; Beckingham, L.E. Impact of Pore Connectivity on Quantification of Mineral Accessibility in Sandstone Samples. ACS Earth Space Chem, 2022. DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.2c00099

Iloejesi, C.O., Beckingham, L.E. Influence of storage period on the geochemical evolution of a compressed energy storage system. Front. Water, 2021. DOI: 10.3389/frwa.2021.689404

Sabo, M., Beckingham, L.E. Porosity-Permeability Evolution During Simultaneous Mineral Dissolution and Precipitation. Water Resour. Res., 2021. DOI: 10.1029/2020WR029072

Qin, F., Beckingham, L.E. The impact of mineral reactive surface area variation on simulated mineral reactions and reaction rates. Appl. Geochem., 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2020.104852