The National Oceanography Centre has signed contracts to participate in a project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to develop a specialised monitoring system incorporating marine robotics to ensure the integrity of carbon capture and storage sites deep below the seabed.
Led by Fugro GEOS Ltd and Sonardyne in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), British Geological Survey, University of Southampton and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the ETI is committed to spending £1m on the project.
Bringing together the expertise of NOC scientists in the areas of marine robotics, computer modelling, ocean biochemistry and seafloor fluid seepage, NOC is able to make a valuable contribution to this state-of-the art project.
As the UK government turns more towards storing carbon dioxide (CO2) deep below the seabed in carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites, there are no cost-effective, integrated and commercially available systems able to accurately record and report irregularities in the CO2 level above the large CCS sites.
This ETI project has been established as a result of the European Union’s directive on CO2 storage and other legislation which means storage operators must monitor for potential leaks and examine whether any leak is damaging to the environment or human health.
With the knowledge and expertise gained by NOC’s Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) facility in developing autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), these AUVs can be used to demonstrate the capability to patrol and monitor the marine environment over the large CCS sites which are far below the seabed, at a relatively low cost.
Professor Ian Wright, NOC science and technology director and principal investigator for this ETI project said: “NOC is delighted to be involved in this important project to underpin the potential for a new UK industry to de-carbonise future energy generation.
“The project further highlights NOC’s commitment to translate our science and technology advances into real benefits for the UK.”
Den Gammer, ETI Strategy Manager for CCS said: “Progress on the development of a cost-effective, reliable monitoring system for the marine environment above CO2 storage complexes is another key step in the process of building confidence in a new CCS industry in the UK.
“Although leakage is highly unlikely we have a duty to ensure that stores are actually protecting the environment and this technology will bring peace of mind to both the operator and the regulator. Our modelling work has shown that CCS has the potential to play a major role in any future low carbon UK energy system, with technology innovation delivering both economic and environmental benefits to the country. This project helps to move the industry and UK capability forward.”
Press Release, May 02, 2014