The UK Government is promoting the role of 'e-infrastructure' as a key economic enabler for the future. Mr David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, chairs an e-infrastructure leadership council (ELC) which has so far championed the investment of £160 m in high-performance computers, and £190 m in ' big data' to address what it perceives as a barrier to UK industry and commerce accessing modern analysis and data sources that already exist. It seeks to facilitate the creation of 'on-ramps' that would give such access in each of six key sectors, one of which is energy.
ELC has formed a group to provide a first outline of how this can be done for energy, exploiting as far as possible existing data centres and similar facilities. That group would like to invite all members of this network to offer their own response to the central question:
What data, computational resources, software or algorithms related to energy would, if made accessible to you, help you grow your businesses and increase UK competitiveness?
A web questionnaire has been set up to collect views and opinions. Please let us know yours by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/6DPXW3K .
The UK Energy e-infrastructure working group.
SiteChar is a three-year EU-funded research project to establish a method to assess a site’s suitability for the underground geological storage of CO2.
SiteChar is examining the characterisation process of geological sites sufficient to meet the European regulations for a licence to store CO2 underground.
SiteChar partners, including the BGS (NERC), met at TNO, The Netherlands, on January 16-17 for its third General Assembly.
The meeting agenda included:
SiteChar is studying five sites for their suitability for storing CO2 underground:
In its final year, 'dry-run' storage permit (licence) applications will be prepared for two of the sites, offshore UK and onshore Denmark, and reviewed by independent experts and regulators.
Results from the five SiteChar will be the basis of a workflow and detailed methodological guide to implement the EU CCS directive from the perspective of both storage site operators and regulatory bodies.
Infiltration sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are favoured by surface water managers as they deal with water near to where it falls as rain, reducing the potential impacts of downstream flooding.
The BGS Infiltration SuDS map can help assess where these systems, such as soakaways and permeable pavements, are appropriate by providing information about the properties of the ground.
The dataset proved to be a highly effective preliminary screening method, for a consultancy based in mainland Scotland, to assess the suitability of infiltration SuDS without having to visit the site on the Isle of Mull and excavate trial pits.
As a contributor to the Natural Hazards Partnership, the British Geological Survey issues colour coded (green, yellow, amber or red) daily assessments regarding landslide potential. These are currently being developed and released through the Natural Hazards Partnerships daily Strategic Assessment report. These briefings are based on an assessment of antecedent conditions, Met Office weather forecasting and observational data regarding slope instability, as reported by the media and other sources. The current amber situation results from saturated ground conditions, forecasts of more heavy rainfall and multiple reports of slope instability resulting in disruption to infrastructure and people.
For more information contact Dr Helen Reeves, Head of Science for Land Use, Planning and Development at the BGS.
Papers co-authored by British Geological Survey (BGS) scientists have both won, and been runner-up, in the Climate Change category of the Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize – as announced at the award ceremony held at Lloyds of London on 29 November 2012.
The project which led to the winning paper was initiated and co-led by John Rees who is currently the Natural Environment Research Council Theme Leader for Natural Hazards. The paper, entitled ‘Integrated analysis of risks of coastal flooding and cliff erosion under scenarios of long term change’ (Dawson et al. 2009. Climatic Change 95(1-2): 249-288), describes an integrated assessment methodology to explore the trade-offs between flooding and coastal erosion risks on the Norfolk coast. John and colleagues addressed the complex interactions between climatic and socio-economic change and coastal management policy, and quantified their economic impact on both flood risk and coastal erosion for the first time.
The runner-up prize was awarded to Anna Harrison who is the Project Leader of the Geohazards and Climate Change project, within the Shallow Geohazards and Risk Team. This was for a paper published in the Proceedings’ of the Geologists Association on the relationship between clay shrink-swell occurrence and climate in south-east England (Harrison et al. 2012. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, Vol. 123, 556-575). The research has found that the preceding two years of rainfall has a strong influence on the ground saturation, and thus the potential for building subsidence. Higher temperatures are also influential, causing increased evaporation and evapotranspiration.
Earlier this year, the BGS in collaboration with the Met Office, submitted a challenge called 'Hazard Map' to the 2012 International Space Apps challenge; a two-day technology development event. The challenge was borne out of an idea that Joanne Robbins, a weather impact scientist at the Met Office, and Emma Bee, a Geographic Information Analyst at the BGS had whilst working together within the recently formed Natural Hazards Partnership.
The Hazard Map challenge asked the event participants to help create a 'map'lication' alerting staff working within a hazard centre environment to the impacts of natural hazards by using data harvested from social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. The results of the event were written up in conjunction with colleagues from the BGS, Scisys and the Met Office, and submitted as a paper to the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity conference in September 2012.
The paper, presented by Joanne Robbins, was subsequently voted 'best paper in conference: voted by delegates'.
The team were invited to present the paper again at the AGI annual awards ceremony in November 2012, where the paper was 'Highly commended'.
The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) hydrocarbon well collection, managed by BGS, contains material from approximately 8000 wells, including over 300 km of drill cores, 4.5 million samples of cuttings, and associated records.
In 2010 the BGS Keyworth core store was extended to increase its storage capacity; the BGS intends to make full use the Keyworth store to create operational savings instead of maintaining multiple core store facilities across the UK. The extended store has the capacity to hold the contents of the BGS Gilmerton (UKCS core) and BGS Loanhead stores, plus additional capacity for expansion.
Since summer 2010, the core at Gilmerton has been systematically bar-coded, re-boxed, photographed, palletised and transported 270 miles from Edinburgh to Keyworth. Thanks to a rigorous transfer methodology, and careful staff, all of the 300 km of core arrived without damage.
More about Last Core Box from Gilmerton arrives at Keyworth.
Concerns have been raised about the possible future use of shale gas boreholes for disposal of radioactive waste.
Boreholes drilled for shale gas or for any other purpose will not be re-used for the disposal of radioactive waste.
The framework set out by the UK Government for implementing the geological disposal of radioactive waste clearly states that disposal will be carried out in specially mined vaults and that these will be constructed between 200 and 1000 metres below ground. Borehole disposal in shale or any other rock type therefore falls outside the parameters set by the UK Government.
The British Geological Survey (BGS) undertakes research on the deep geological disposal of radioactive waste for a number of international organisations. This includes the study of clays, shales and mudrocks as potential host rocks for mined vaults. However, until a community voluntarily decides to take part in the process that will ultimately provide a site for a deep geological disposal facility, the BGS is not undertaking radioactive waste related research on any UK rock formations.
The team behind the EU INTERREG IVA-funded Tellus Border Project, led by Marie Cowan and including Mike Young, Mohammednur Desissa and Claire McGinn from BGS, has picked up a top industry award for excellence in communications at the CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards.
Collecting Gold in the Community Relations category, as well as a Silver award in the Public Sector category, the team was recognised for its wide-ranging and innovative communications outreach prior to and during its geological survey of the border region of Ireland, which took place earlier in 2012.
Pictured at the event are Seona McGrath and Kelly McKee, Morrow Communications Marie Cowan, Project Manager Tellus Border Project, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland Richard Gaston, Category Sponsor The Lyric Theatre Mairead Glennon, Assistant Project Manager, Tellus Border Project, Geological Survey of Ireland Claire Bonner, Morrow Communications and host Marc Mallet of UTV.
More about the Tellus Border Project.