Sub-seabed carbon dioxide storage

Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) has been identified as an important strategy to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The aim of CCS is to take CO2 from large emission sources, such as power stations, transport it to a storage site and permanently lock it away so that it cannot be released into the atmosphere. CCS storage sites are usually geological formations deep underground, either onshore or offshore.

Images left to right: RV James Cook with OBSs onboard ready for deployment, GEOMAR's ROV PHOCA being deployed in the North Sea, the STEMM-CCS baseline lander (courtesy Peter Linke), Applied Acoustics deep tow sparker high resolution sub bottom profiler.

CCS is seen as a key contribution to the target of reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 80-95% by 2050 in order to keep climate change-derived temperature increases below 2°C. This target was agreed by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015, and outlined in the European Commission’s ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’. In addition, CCS is considered an important strategy to reduce the cost of mitigation measures associated with the continued use of fossil fuels (IPCC, 2014). For most European nations, offshore storage of CO2 in depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers is the option of choice.

Drawing together expertise from across academia and industry, STEMM-CCS will provide a set of tools, techniques and methods to enhance our understanding of CCS in the marine environment. Many of our activities will lead to the development or enhancement of sensing technologies, which also have applications beyond the CCS arena and may be suitable for commercialisation. Throughout the project there will be a high level of engagement with policy makers and stakeholders to ensure the widest possible exchange of knowledge, including with countries outside Europe that are currently developing offshore CCS.

The key project objectives are:

  • Produce new tools and techniques for environmental monitoring as well as CO2 emission monitoring, quantification and assessment;
  • Generate new knowledge of the reservoir overburden by direct investigation of natural geological and manmade features;
  • Deliver the first CCS demonstration project level implementation of an ecological baseline, incorporating geochemical and biological variability;
  • Promote knowledge transfer to industrial and regulatory stakeholders and local and international communities.