Carbon storage could be ‘next big national resource’

We’re used to thinking of oil, gas and even wind as a national energy resource. But academics say there could well soon be another option to add to that list: […]

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By Vicky Ellis

We’re used to thinking of oil, gas and even wind as a national energy resource. But academics say there could well soon be another option to add to that list: storage space.

UK researchers are putting together a database of places where carbon dioxide could be stored under the sea around the British coastline.

Storing carbon underground with new technology known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as crucial in future to keeping down greenhouse gas emissions.

Today a research group backed by businesses and government, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) announced it is extending its £3.8million project which keeps a check on geological data about reservoirs which have been drilled for oil and gas, as well as saline aquifers. Together these make nearly 600 potential units to store CO2.

Andrew Green, CCS Programme Manager at the ETI said: “Our modelling work has shown there is huge potential and a strong argument for CCS to be a core component of the UK’s future energy mix. The aim of this project has been to provide a more accurate picture of how much storage space is practically available around the UK shores.”

The web-enabled database is said to be the first of its type anywhere in the world and will go live in early 2013, once the ETI and its partners British Geological Survey and The Crown Estate put the finishing touches to the first version.

Mr Green went on: “Whilst a lot of focus is currently on the build and demonstration of CCS plant, the availability of sufficient high-quality storage capacity is crucial to the large scale rollout of CCS in the UK.”

Dr Ward Goldthorpe at The Crown Estate, which owns the CO2 storage rights on the UK continental shelf, said it will help the estate when planning any future CO2 pipeline and storage leasing activities.