Geochemical modelling of hydrogen wettability on Quartz: Implications for underground hydrogen storage in sandstone reservoirs

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Molecular Liquids






School of Engineering




Future Energy Export CRC / Beach Energy Limit - Enabling Large-Scale Hydrogen Underground Storage in Porous Media (21.RP2.0091)


Zeng, L., Keshavarz, A., Jha, N. K., Al-Yaseri, A., Sarmadivaleh, M., Xie, Q., & Iglauer, S. (2023). Geochemical modelling of hydrogen wettability on Quartz: Implications for underground hydrogen storage in sandstone reservoirs. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 371, Article 121076.


Renewable energy particular hydrogen can be optimum solution to replace fossil fuels to achieve net-zero carbon emission targets and metigate global warming. One challenge of the hydrogen industry is to safely and economically store hydrogen. To meet this requirement, underground geological storage is a potentially suitable solution to store hydrogen in large-scale and long-term manner. Wettabillity is an important formation parameter that can affect flow behaviors of stored gas, cycling efficiency, structural and residual trap capacity. However, current research is still scarce in geochemical reactions associated hydrogen wettability alteraction in subsurface sandstone reservoirs under in-situ conditions. To fill this knowledge gap, in this study, we performed surface complexation modelling to understand the wettability of hydrogen-brine-organic acid-quartz system. The surface potential of pure quartz at various temperatures and pressure was calculated to characterize disjoining pressure isotherm. Besides, surface species concentrations of quartz and organic stearic acid were predicted to quantify the electrostatic attraction between quartz and organic acid molecues thus the hydrogen wettability on quartz surface. The modelling results show that for pure quartz, increasing temperature and pressure has a negligible effect on disjoining pressure and hydrogen wettability on the pure quartz surface, which is different from the results reported by Iglauer et al., but is in line with the results reported by Hashemi et al. When organic stearic acid is added into system, increasing organic molecules concentration and pressure strengthens the electrostatic attraction of quartz-organic acid and leads to less hydrophilicity and more hydrogen-wetting. This result is consistent with previous contact angle measurements that increasing organic acid concentration increases the brine contact angle, thus the hydrogen wettability. Our work provides a framework to characterize hydrogen wettability on mineral surface using geochemical tools to better assess the feasibility of UHS in depleted sandstone reservoirs.



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