Evolution of the pore structure in coal subjected to freeze−thaw using liquid nitrogen to enhance coalbed methane extraction

Lei Qin, Cheng Zhai, Jizhao Xu, Shimin Liu, Chao Zhong, Guoqing Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The permeability of coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs is typically very low and it is challenging and essential to effectively increase coal permeability to maximize CBM recovery. An exploratory study on enhancing coal porosity/permeability using freeze−thaw cycling with liquid nitrogen (LN2) was conducted. The changes of fracture and porosity in coal with the freeze−thaw treatment using LN2 were evaluated using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). After freeze−thaw treatment, the coal pore size tended to increase and new pores/fissures were generated. The growth rate of the pore size was positively correlated with the LN2 freezing duration. The effective porosity had a positive correlation with the freezing duration, but the correlation for residual porosity was negative. This means that the volume of irreducible fluid in the coal decreased while the amount of free fluid increased. Scanning electron micrograph studies indicated that the maximum fracture width in the coal samples grew from 5.56 μm at a Tfreezing = 1 min to 100 μm for Tfreezing = 60 min, matching the NMR findings. This study provides a scientific basis and guidance for engineering application of freeze−thaw using liquid nitrogen to enhance coalbed methane extraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Volume175
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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