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Modeling gas displacement kinetics in coal with Maxwell-Stefan diffusion theory



The kinetics of binary gas counter-diffusion and Darcy flow in a large coal sample were modeled, and the results compared with data from experimental laboratory investigations. The study aimed for a better understanding of the CO2-sequestration enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) recovery process. The transport model used was based on the bidisperse diffusion mechanism and Maxwell-Stefan (MS) diffusion theory. This provides an alternative approach to simulate multicomponent gas diffusion and flow in bulk coals. A series of high-stress core flush tests were performed on a large coal sample sourced from a Bowen Basin coal mine in Queensland, Australia to investigate the kinetics of one gas displacing another. These experimental results were used to derive gas diffusivities, and to examine the predictive capability of the diffusion model. The simulations show good agreements with the displacement experiments, revealing that MS diffusion theory is superior for describing diffusion of mixed gases in coals compared with the constant Fick diffusivity model. The optimized effective micropore and macropore diffusivities are comparable with experimental measurements achieved by other researchers. © 2007 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2007

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