Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture and Storage (STEMM-CCS)

STEMM-CCS is an ambitious multi-disciplinary project that will deliver new approaches, methodologies and tools for the safe operation of offshore carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) sites. CCS is used as a mitigation strategy for addressing the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. 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. STEMM-CCS will develop approaches to help ensure we select appropriate marine storage sites and can monitor them effectively, thus further increasing confidence in CCS as a viable option for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

STEMM-CCS combines a unique set of field experiments alongside laboratory work and mathematical modelling. A number of research cruises will take place in the North Sea, where a combination of existing state of the art technology and new sensors and techniques developed by the project will be deployed to examine baseline conditions, sub-seafloor structures, fluid pathways and a range of other characteristics relevant to the safe operation of CCS in the marine environment.

A key component of the project is an experiment in the North Sea at the Goldeneye site, which has been identified as a potential CCS storage complex. Here, CO2 gas will be released via a drill hole beneath the seabed and its pathway to the seafloor and into the water column tracked and monitored. Prior to the experiment, baseline environmental conditions both at the seafloor and in the overlying water column will be established so that the released CO2 can be differentiated from the CO2 naturally present in the marine environment. A variety of sensors and indicators will then be used to detect and quantify the released CO2, track its dissipation through seafloor sediments and into the water column, and monitor its effects on the surrounding environment.

The project will generate a huge amount of new knowledge to underpin recommendations for future best practice and operational support and will share its findings with a broad range of stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, policymakers, industry groups, academia and the wider CCS community.

This project has been completed

Key information

Funder: EC

Project start date: March 2016

Project end date: February 2020

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Jerry Blackford
Head of Science: Marine Systems Modelling Group

Other participants

Caroline Louise McNeill, Dr Ana Queirós, Dr Gavin Tilstone, Dr Gennadi Lessin, Dr Paul Somerfield, Dr Pierre Cazenave, Dr Ricardo Torres, Dr Yuri Artioli, Joana Nunes, Professor Steve Widdicombe, Sarah Dashfield

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