Project launched to develop a Marine Monitoring System for underwater CCS sites

Energy Technologies Institute (ETI)

Despite the existence of technology components capable of detecting CO2 in a marine environment, there is currently no integrated, cost-effective and commercially available system which can reliably record and report anomalies in the level of CO2 in the sea above a large store. However, given the EU’s CCS directive, which requires storage operators to monitor for potential leaks and examine whether any leak is damaging to the environment or human health, development of a capability to enable robust monitoring of underground CO2 storage sites is progressing.

This project will bring together a consortium of British multi-discipline partners who will examine the requirements for the Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (MMV) system. The final results of the project will be the construction of a technology demonstrator with sea trials, a comprehensive review at the end of the three year period, and a solution to a legislative requirement to monitor potential CO2 leaks and their effect on the environment.  Robotics and Autonomous Systems has been identified as a low cost tool for enabling monitoring leakage from CO2 storage sites.

Den Gammer, ETI Strategy Manager for CCS, welcomed this project in noting that ‘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’.

Furthermore, Gammer noted that although leakage is highly unlikely it is their responsibility to ensure that CO2 storage sites are 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 technological innovation delivering both economic and environmental benefits to the country. This project helps to move both the industry and UK capability forward’.

According to Anthony Gaffney, Managing Director at Fugro GEOS, ‘The challenge set by ETI is the development of an entirely new capability in the MMV of under-sea CCS sites’.

For a more detailed introduction to the project given by ETI’s Project Manager Stewart Swatton see here.