Past Event

Darcy Lecture in Groundwater with Dr. Chen Zhu

September 22, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964

We are pleased to announce that Columbia University has been chosen to host this year’s Darcy Lecture Series speaker, Dr. Chen Zhu of Indiana University. Dr. Zhu will be speaking about “How are Geochemical Reactions in Aquifers Connected to Climate Change Mitigation?”.

Each year, the Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Groundwater Science invites an outstanding groundwater professional to share their work with universities and professional associations around the world. Columbia University was selected among a competitive pool of candidates to host this distinguished lecture, and we are excited to make it a part of our Lamont Geochemistry Seminar Series. The presentation is also sponsored by the Environmental Science Department at Barnard College and the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy.


The storage in deep saline aquifers of CO2 captured at point sources such as coal-fired power plants is a strategy that many regard as critical to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. But is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) safe? Might reactions between CO2, the native brine, and the host rocks modify the reservoir structure within ~10,000 years? Where does the injected CO2 go and what is its fate? Can CO2 escape to the overlying drinking water aquifers to cause unwanted reactions and degrade water quality? Our ability to understand and predict geochemical reactions in aquifers is critical for answering these questions. This lecture will give an overview of geological carbon sequestration efforts and of the research advances in reaction kinetics and geochemical modeling necessary to predict the safety of CO2 storage. Recent innovative research by my students and collaborators on applying non-traditional stable isotope tracers in geochemical kinetics experiments has broken new ground in near-equilibrium reaction kinetics, which is critically relevant to CCS. The Mt. Simon Sandstone in the U.S. Midwest and the Sleipner Project in Norway represent planned and fully operational industrial-scale COstorage projects, respectively. I will present examples of numerical simulations of CO2 fate and geochemical reactions from both projects. The connections among the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere as well as the overlap between basic science and pressing societal needs—the hallmark of groundwater sciences—become clear through a tour of the fascinating and intriguing CCS efforts around the world. 

Please contact speaker host Martin Stute ([email protected][email protected]) if you would like to arrange an in-person or Zoom meeting with Dr. Zhu on the day of his lecture (Wednesday) or potentially Tuesday afternoon.

Contact Information

Geochemistry Seminar Committee (Craig Connolly, Oana Dumitru, Annie Leal, and Tess Walther)