As Canada strives to reduce the impacts of climate change with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, our energy sector will shift away from fossil fuels, leaving thousands of legacy oil and gas wells that will require us to utilize the subsurface to store fuels and capture greenhouse gases (GHGs). As a result, gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen can be released from and/or generated in the deep subsurface, migrating upward towards the shallow subsurface where they have the potential to dissolve into aquifers (causing physiochemical and biological changes) or escape the subsurface altogether, becoming a source of emissions to the atmosphere or a health and safety concern in overlying infrastructure.
While some view the dissolution of GHGs as a method of reducing emissions and resulting climate impacts, this process comes at the expense of the potability of groundwater, a vital source of fresh drinking water in Canada, along with other severe potential impacts to the environment that require quantitative understanding to develop monitoring techniques and engineering solutions to mitigate risks.
In this talk, Dr. Cole Van De Ven will explore some of the geo-environmental challenges we face as a result of subsurface gases to reach net-zero emissions. Through a variety of studies, he will illustrate the complex interactions between subsurface GHGs, shallow groundwater, and the atmosphere.
About the Speaker
Dr. Cole Van De Ven is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University, where he is building the Geo-environmental Gas and Contaminants Laboratory (GEGC Lab)–enabling his research group to study physical, chemical, and biological processes controlling the fate of gases and other contaminants in the saturated and unsaturated subsurface. A current focus of the group is investigating the transport of geo-environmental greenhouse gases within the shallow subsurface and connection with the atmosphere. Prior to joining Carleton, Dr. Van De Ven was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia.
About the Series
Ingenious Talks is a special speaker series from the Faculty of Engineering and Design that engages the community in discussions of timely and innovative ideas in engineering, design and technology.
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