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Improved Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) Elemental Composition Detection System

A device to measure subsurface gases, liquids, and solids at subsurface conditions

National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

This device can measure subsurface gases, liquids, and solids at subsurface conditions. Atomic identification and concentration measurements can be made on solids, liquids, and gases at down hole pressure and temperature conditions.

Description

 Sensors are increasingly needed to continuously measure:

•Ground water quality
  –Pollutants in fresh and salt water systems
•Air quality, both indoors and outdoors
•Gas composition
  –Natural gas, volcanic gas, landfill gas, shale gas, flue gas
•Soil composition

These measurements are important to oil and gas exploration companies, landowners, regulatory agencies, and municipalities, and any organization monitoring emissions. Current sampling and analysis is labor intensive and significantly changes the sample by cooling and depressurizing, and current analysis technology is not amenable for harsh environments.

This device can measure subsurface gases, liquids, and solids at subsurface conditions. Atomic identification and concentration measurements can be made on solids, liquids, and gases at down hole pressure and temperature conditions.

Carbon capture and storage in geologic formations is a promising technology to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions on the environment. Monitoring capabilities that are reliable and cost effective are needed to confirm permanent storage of CO2 in geologic formations. Improved monitoring technologies are needed for surface, near-surface, and subsurface applications to ensure that injection, abandoned, and monitoring wells are structurally sound and that CO2 will remain within the injection formation. NETL has developed a CO2 injection basin leakage detection system using miniaturized laser sensors with optical fibers. The invention will make measurements of elemental content and chemical composition in gases, liquids, and on solids, and will allow the monitoring and reporting of possible CO2 leaks within the environments of interest. The sensors use two laser-based methods: laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and RAMAN spectroscopy (named for the scientist C. V. Raman). LIBS can be used to measure elemental composition and RAMAN spectroscopy provides a fingerprint by which chemical compounds can be identified. Sensors can be distributed widely either above ground or down hole to monitor for the presence of CO2 or to detect characteristic changes in the ground water contents that may indicate leakage from a CO2 injection site.

 

Benefits
•Continuous monitoring of an extreme environment
•No sample collection
•No sample preparation
•Easy to use
•Low cost (compared to competitors)
•High data quality
•The ability to see changes in down hole fluid chemistry before and after injection and/or fracturing
Applications and Industries

Monitoring ground water quality and qir quality to detect leackage of sequestered CO2 using miniturized laser sensors.

Other applications include airborne security in buildings, water quality, extreme environment sensing, deep ocean and aquatic environment sensing.

 

More Information

A U.S. nonprovisional patent application was filed January 26, 2012.

Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
PrototypeAvailable05/14/201402/23/2016

Contact NETL About This Technology

To: Jessica Sosenko<techtransfer@netl.doe.gov> <Jessica.Sosenko@netl.doe.gov>