Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the large-scale burning of fossil fuels. CO2 is captured during its generation at power stations, or in large-scale industrial process, and transported by pipeline to a suitable site for underground storage.
A large number of potential storage sites in offshore UK have previously been explored for oil and gas. An area where as much hydrocarbons have been extracted from a field as possible is generally known as a depleted field. These sites have a number of advantages for CCS, such as:
- There is already a significant amount of infrastructure built up around the field, some of which can be reutilised
- They have been shown to keep fluids trapped for often millions of years previously
- There is generally already a lot known about such sites and there is significant data about how the reservoir and caprock behave when conditions are changed
Just like a balloon, a storage site will respond to changes in pressure during depletion and re-inflation during CO2 injection. However, little work has been done on how previous depletion will affect the way it re-inflates. Providing a better understanding of this process is one of the primary aims of CONTAIN.
In addition, work will be carried out to examine effective communication with the public, relating to this new technology. Social acceptability represents a major potential barrier to CCS developments, as indicated by protests and moratoria in several countries. It is critical to understand public attitudes and the bases of concern about CCS, and work as effectively as possible to improve understanding and engagement. Work within this project explores the factors that determine public and stakeholder understanding and acceptability of CCS storage proposals. The lessons and knowledge derived from this work will be summarised in an outreach and engagement toolkit, which will be disseminated to regulators, operators and communication specialists.
Cardiff University – Dimitrios Xenias and Lorraine Whitmarsh
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