Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage

Jerry Blackford, Henrik Stahl, Jonathan M. Bull, Benoit J. P. Berges, Melis Cevatoglu, Anna Lichtschlag, Douglas Connelly, Rachael H. James, Jun Kita, Dave Long, Mark Naylor, Kiminori Shitashima, Dave Smith, Peter Taylor, Ian Wright, Maxine Akhurst, Baixin Chen, Tom M. Gernon, Chris Hauton, Masatoshi Hayashi & 9 others Hideshi Kaieda, Timothy G. Leighton, Toru Sato, Martin D. J. Sayer, Masahiro Suzumura, Karen Tait, Mark E. Vardy, Paul R. White, Steve Widdicombe

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Abstract

Fossil fuel power generation and other industrial emissions of carbon dioxide are a threat to global climate1, yet many economies will remain reliant on these technologies for several decades2. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) in deep geological formations provides an effective option to remove these emissions from the climate system3. In many regions storage reservoirs are located offshore4, 5, over a kilometre or more below societally important shelf seas6. Therefore, concerns about the possibility of leakage7, 8 and potential environmental impacts, along with economics, have contributed to delaying development of operational CCS. Here we investigate the detectability and environmental impact of leakage from a controlled sub-seabed release of CO2. We show that the biological impact and footprint of this small leak analogue (<1 tonne CO2 d−1) is confined to a few tens of metres. Migration of CO2 through the shallow seabed is influenced by near-surface sediment structure, and by dissolution and re-precipitation of calcium carbonate naturally present in sediments. Results reported here advance the understanding of environmental sensitivity to leakage and identify appropriate monitoring strategies for full-scale carbon storage operations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1016
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume4
Issue number11
Early online date28 Sep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sep 2014

Cite this

Blackford, J., Stahl, H., Bull, J. M., Berges, B. J. P., Cevatoglu, M., Lichtschlag, A., ... Widdicombe, S. (2014). Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage. Nature Climate Change, 4(11), 1011-1016. https://doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE2381