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British study finds new potential for carbon storage

Study from 2013 finds carbon storage a necessary component of a low-carbon future.

By Daniel J. Graeber
British study finds new potential for carbon storage
British study finds new potential for carbon capture and storage at North Sea region off the Scottish coast. Photo by Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock

LONDON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Findings from a case study on carbon capture and storage in the North Sea is a step toward unlocking the region's vast potential, the British survey said.

The British Geological Survey released findings from a case study in the so-called Captain Sandstone in the North Sea, which lies more than a mile beneath the sea surface off the northeast coast of Scotland.

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"This research confirms how the huge CO2 storage resource potential beneath the North Sea can be optimized," Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement.

In a 2013 study, the International Energy Agency said carbon capture and storage technology, or CCS, is a "necessary addition" to other low-carbon energy technologies meant to drive down global greenhouse gas emissions.

The study from BGS on the Captain Sandstone found storing carbon within a single geological formation could be optimized by injecting carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, into two points at the same time. In the case study, researchers found they could store more CO2 in less area using the dual-injection method.

"Our study is one of the keys that will unlock the potential CO2 storage capacity underlying the North Sea and release this immense storage resource" BGS project leader Maxine Akhurst said in a statement. "Our results show that by using more than one injection site in a single sandstone operators can store greater volumes of CO2 compared to using a single injection site, so increasing Europe's capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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The British government in August 2014 said it could be a world leader in commercial CCS development, boasting of close to $1.7 billion in program investments.

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