EXPERIMENT: Geological formations contain organic acids in minute concentrations, with the alkyl chain length ranging from C4 to C26. To fully understand the wetting characteristics of H2 in a natural geological picture, we aged mica mineral surfaces as a representative of the caprock in varying concentrations of organic molecules (with varying numbers of carbon atoms, lignoceric acid C24, lauric acid C12, and hexanoic acid C6) for 7 days. To comprehend the wettability of the mica/H2/brine system, we employed a contact-angle procedure similar to that in natural geo-storage environments (25, 15, and 0.1 MPa and 323 K).
FINDINGS: At the highest investigated pressure (25 MPa) and the highest concentration of lignoceric acid (10-2 mol/L), the mica surface became completely H2 wet with advancing (θa= 106.2°) and receding (θr=97.3°) contact angles. The order of increasing θa and θr with increasing organic acid contaminations is as follows: lignoceric acid > lauric acid > hexanoic acid. The results suggest that H2 gas leakage through the caprock is possible in the presence of organic acids at higher physio-thermal conditions. The influence of organic contamination inherent at realistic geo-storage conditions should be considered to avoid the overprediction of structural trapping capacities and H2 containment security.