The production of natural gas from shale is increasing in the US, and under consideration elsewhere in the world. Researchers are also investigating the potential of shale beds for storing carbon dioxide (CO2), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The key to both these processes is an understanding of how gases are adsorbed into and sweep out of pores within the shale. Shale contains a network of pores and fractures of various sizes. Research published in RSC Advances used neutron scattering techniques on Nimrod, as they can distinguish between pores that are open, or accessible, and pores that are closed. The results suggest that the large numbers of micropores in shale are closed and are unavailable for CO2 storage, a finding that is important for the development and refinement of CO2 storage methods.
Related publication: K. L. Stefanopoulos et al. “Neutron Scattering Measurements of Carbon Dioxide Adsorption in Pores within the Marcellus Shale: Implications for Sequestration" Environ. Sci. Technol. 51(11) (2017), 6515–6521, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b05707