1st May 2014
ETI to collaboratively develop a Marine Monitoring System for underwater Carbon Capture & Storage sites
• ETI develop monitoring system using marine robotics to provide assurance that CO2 stored deep below the seabed in CCS sites is secure.
• The project will be led by Fugro GEOS in collaboration with Sonardyne, NOC and the British Geological Survey (both part of NERC), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton.
• The ETI is to invest £1m in the first phase of the project.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is developing a monitoring system using marine robotics to provide assurance that carbon dioxide (CO2) stored deep below the seabed in Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) sites is secure.
The project will be commissioned and funded by the ETI and will seek to develop a monitoring system which could be deployed using static monitoring equipment and marine robotics such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
The project will be led by Fugro GEOS in collaboration with Sonardyne, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the British Geological Survey (both part of NERC), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton. The ETI is to invest £1m in the first phase of the project.
Although there are existing technology components which can detect CO2 in a marine environment, there are no integrated, cost-effective and commercially available systems which can currently reliably record and report anomalies in the level of CO2 in the sea above a large store. The need to introduce capability for the robust monitoring of underground CO2 storage sites is in response to legislation such as the European Union’s directive on CO2 storage. This states that any storage operator must monitor for potential leaks and examine whether any leak is damaging to the environment or human health.
Current research and evidence shows that leakage is highly unlikely. However if CO2 did escape, it would be difficult to predict with certainty exactly where it would reach the seabed. This is where mobile autonomous robots are very useful, patrolling over large areas at relatively low cost.
Robotics and Autonomous Systems was identified last year by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, as one of the 'Eight Great Technologies' that will propel the UK to future growth, and received a funding boost to bring the research base and industry together.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "As one of the eight great technologies, Robotics and Autonomous Systems is an exciting growth area where the UK’s expertise gives us a competitive advantage. With the right investment, this developing area of technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the growth of the UK economy. The Marine Monitoring System highlights how our commitment to new innovations is keeping the UK ahead in the global race, using revolutionary technologies to help protect the environment."
Den Gammer, ETI Strategy Manager for CCS added: “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.”
Anthony Gaffney, Managing Director of Fugro GEOS Ltd, commented: “Fugro is constantly seeking to diversify and expand its range of technological solutions into new markets. We are delighted to bring our wealth of experience to this key project. Fugro is well-established in the marine sector and, together with the respective strengths of our technical partners from industry, academia and research, we will ensure that the ETI have selected a consortium able to deliver a cost-effective and commercially exploitable monitoring solution for the carbon capture industry.”
Dr Graham Brown, Divisional Director for Oil & Gas at Sonardyne said: “Sonardyne is a leading UK subsea technology company and we’re absolutely delighted to bring our system engineering experience and world leading wide area Automatic Leak Detection Sonar (ALDS) and subsea asset monitoring technologies into this project.”
The first 12 months of the project will see the economic and technological plans for the monitoring system developed.
To watch a video of the ETI's Project Manager Stewart Swatton explaining the project please click here.