Supersaturated Gas Sampler for Groundwater Sampling

Physical Sciences : Chemical

Available for licensing

Inventor

  • Toti Larson, Ph.D. , Geological Sciences

Background/unmet need

Groundwater sampling for wells in environmental and hydrothermal energy industries is performed through analysis of dissolved gases. Estimation problems arise when collecting groundwater samples that have high concentrations of dissolved gases, such as in two-phase groundwater systems. Current technologies for dissolved gas analysis are flawed in that they tend to overestimate gas concentrations in supersaturated samples and are difficult to use in the field. A new method is necessary for proper and user-friendly sampling of supersaturated dissolved gases in groundwater sampling.

Invention Description

The proposed method for dissolved gas analysis is a flow-through water collection system that eliminates air bubbles during collection, thereby allowing for proper collection of supersaturated dissolved gases. The gas sampler is a glass container sealed at either end with pierceable rubber stoppers on either end for proper sealing and filling capabilities. The rubber stoppers improve the flow-through design of the sampler, and are an overall improvement on single-stopper serum vials that inhibit flow-through systems.

With enhanced sealing and filling capabilities, the sampler is a dynamic collection system from which its contents can be purged or degassed. This sampler differs from typical copper tube collection in that it provides the same amount of available storage, but is easier to handle in the field. The glass design of the tube allows the user to be able to see if any bubbles are present, which can be removed through a vent. Bubble formation during collection can be prevented in the first place by coupling the sampler’s system to a back-flow pressure regulator to increase back pressure.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Improves concentration measurement of supersaturated dissolved gases
  • Minimal loss of dissolved gas
  • Accurate sampling strategy through gas bubble elimination
  • Easy to accommodate in the laboratory
  • Simple design allows for easy transportation
  • User-friendly for field work
  • Increased efficiency of gas collection and analysis

Features

  • Dual stopper design allows for flow-through collection system
  • Glass vials allow for full range of view of the collected gas
  • Can be coupled with a back-flow pressure regulator to prevent bubble formation
  • Air-tight vial design minimizes loss of collected gas
  • Enhanced sealing and filling capabilities
  • Improved storage capabilities

Market potential/applications

The sampler is an improvement on current dissolved gas sampling methods. Environmental groundwater studies, gas exploration industries, carbon dioxide storage industries, and hydrothermal energy industries can benefit from utilizing this sampler in groundwater sampling of supersaturated dissolved gases. The sampler can be integrated in individual science research projects, in which extensive equipment would no longer be needed. Baseline groundwater testing for hydraulic fracturing wells also require a significant amount of dissolved gas sampling, an intensive process that can be made easier through the use of this sampler.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 PCT patent application filed