The quest for the large-scale development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) received another boost today, after it was announced that scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland secured funding for a four-year investigation into possible carbon dioxide (CO2) storage solutions.

The project, entitled ‘Migration of CO2 through North Sea Geological Carbon Storage Sites: Impact of Faults, Geological Heterogeneities and Dissolution,’ secured £276,498 ($363,800) in funding from the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Highlights call.

The initiative will specifically explore the ability of complex rock strata beneath the North Sea to trap CO2 emissions securely.

In particular, it will look at ways in which injected CO2 could migrate upwards through overlying layers of underground rocks, examining how embedded faults and rock tiers interact and possibly alter pathways for CO2 flow.

Our work can guide strategies for quantifying and reducing the risks of CO2 leakage from a subsurface storage site

In doing so, findings of the study will seek to form a base for future CCS developments; it is hoped that identifying the most suitable CO2 storage sites now could expand the potential for CO2 storage worldwide.

Prof. Zoe Shipton at the Scottish university, explained the methodology behind the study, “We will construct simplified models of flow along layered strata with cross-cutting faults in order to constrain the effect of geological complexity on the fate of CO2 leaking from a subsurface storage site.”

She also highlighted, “By understanding how the fault rock types influence mechanisms such as capillary trapping, dissolution of CO2 in water and migration pathways, our work can guide strategies for quantifying and reducing the risks of CO2 leakage from a subsurface storage site.” 

The Energy Technology Institute (ETI) also threw the spotlight onto the UK’s potential CO2 offshore storage assets and how they could pave the way towards affordable climate action, after releasing its latest study in May 2016.