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High-pressure methane adsorption and characterization of pores in Posidonia shales and isolated kerogens.

Rexer, T.F.T. and Mathia, E.J. and Aplin, A.C. and Thomas, K.M. (2014) 'High-pressure methane adsorption and characterization of pores in Posidonia shales and isolated kerogens.', Energy & fuels., 28 (5). pp. 2886-2901.


Sorption capacities and pore characteristics of bulk shales and isolated kerogens have been determined for immature, oil-window, and gas-window mature samples from the Lower Toarcian Posidonia shale formation. Dubinin–Radushkevich (DR) micropore volumes, sorption pore volumes, and surface areas of shales and kerogens were determined from CO2 adsorption isotherms at −78 and 0 °C, and from N2 adsorption isotherms at −196 °C. Mercury injection capillary pressure porosimetry, grain density measurements, and helium pycnometry were used to determine shale and kerogen densities and total pore volumes. Total porosities decrease through the oil-window and then increase into the gas-window. High-pressure methane isotherms up to 14 MPa were determined at 45, 65, and 85 °C on dry shale and at 45 and 65 °C on kerogen. Methane excess uptakes at 65 °C and 11.5 MPa were in the range 0.056–0.110 mmol g–1 (40–78 scf t–1) for dry Posidonia shales and 0.36–0.70 mmol g–1 (253–499 scf t–1) for the corresponding dry kerogens. Absolute methane isotherms were calculated by correcting for the gas at bulk gas phase density in the sorption pore volume. The enthalpies of CH4 adsorption for shales and kerogens at zero surface coverage showed no significant variation with maturity, indicating that the sorption pore volume is the primary control on sorption uptake. The sum of pore volumes measured by (a) CO2 sorption at −78 °C and (b) mercury injection, are similar to the total porosity for shales. Since mercury in our experiments occupies pores with constrictions larger than ca. 6 nm, we infer that porosity measured by CO2 adsorption at −78 °C in the samples used in this study is largely within pores with effective diameters smaller than 6 nm. The linear correlation between maximum CH4 surface excess sorption and CO2 sorption pore volume at −78 °C is very strong for both shales and kerogens, and goes through the origin, suggesting that the vast majority of sorbed CH4 occurs in pores smaller than 6 nm. The DR micropore volume obtained from CO2 adsorption at 0 °C was 40%–62% of the corresponding CO2 sorption pore volume. Sorption mass balances using kerogen and shale isotherms showed that approximately half of the CO2 sorption in these dry shales is in organic matter, with the rest likely to be associated with the inorganic phase (mainly clay minerals). A similar distribution was observed for supercritical CH4 adsorption. Mass balances for adsorption isotherms for kerogen and clay minerals do not always account for the total measured sorbed CH4 on dry shales, suggesting that some sorption may not be completely accounted for by the minerals identified and kerogens in the shales.

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Publisher statement:This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Energy & Fuels, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see
Record Created:25 Jul 2016 14:21
Last Modified:25 Jul 2016 16:28

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