The Centre for North Sea Enhanced Oil Recovery with CO2 (CENSEOR-CO2) will develop understanding of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology, and creates a commercial use for CO2 captured from power plants and industry.
The Centre, involving experts from two universities, will have funding from Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government, matched by commercial funding from 2Co Energy Limited. It will operate within Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage, a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey.
Read the full Scottish Enterprise Press Release
Future management of coastal erosion and flooding is the focus of a new collaborative project, iCoast. The research consortium includes the BGS, University of Southampton, University College London, Oxford University, Manchester University, Swansea University, Cardiff University, Haskoning, HR Wallingford, National Oceanography Centre and Channel Coastal Observatory. The iCoast project will develop new methods that will characterise and forecast long-term changes to coastal geomorphic systems. This work is funded by the National Environmental Research Council and is partnered by the Environment Agency who will use these methods to improve long-term management of the UK coast.
Some amount of climate change is inevitable, this much we know. What we don't know is how sensitive the UK coast is to changes in the climate, to the direction that the waves come from, to the degree of storminess. We need the science of coastal geomorphology - the science of landscape change - to tackle this important socio-economic problem. The iCoast consortium and the BGS coastal research team, will provide significant and comprehensive solutions to this societal problem.
For further information contact Dr Michael Ellis
University of Southampton press release: New project to help predict the future of the UK's coastline
Since the beginning of February, a sequence of at least nine small earthquakes has struck the island of Islay on the west coast of Scotland. The largest of the earthquakes had a magnitude of 2.8 ML, while two others had magnitudes in excess of 2.0 ML. Eight of the earthquakes were felt by local residents.
More about the recent Islay earthquakes
The BGS has successfully bid to join the European Space Agency (ESA) Swarm magnetic survey satellite mission validation team as a principal investigator. We will participate, along with ESA, in the geophysical validation of Swarm data products.
Swarm is a three-satellite 'mini constellation' that will provide unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution of the magnetic fields of the Earth.
Launch date is currently set for 17 July 2012, with a mission duration of up to five years.
More about ESA's magnetic field mission Swarm
Michael presented aspects of his PhD work in the North West Highlands of Scotland: Cross-strike Discontinuities: The development of the Loch Maree Transverse Zone. His paper was complimented with a poster that examined his development of A new method for analyzing cross-strike discontinuities (CSDs) and transverse zones in Displacement Vector Analysis. This new method is derived from Michael's work in Scotland, Cantabria in Spain, and in the Appalachian Thrust Belt, USA.
This research is a spin-off from BGS work on the classic Moine Thrust Belt. Michael adopted BGS digital mapping methodologies (SIGMA) and is now modelling the transverse Loch Maree sector of the Moine Thrust Belt in 3D. The research is jointly supervised and funded by BGS's BUFI (Dr G Leslie) and Keele University (Dr Stuart Clarke and Prof. Graham Williams).
During November 2011 Dr Kathryn Goodenough, a senior geologist at BGS, took part in the Royal Society Scientist: Civil Servant Pairing Scheme. Kathryn was paired with Beverley Okoye, a Policy Adviser from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); both have interests in developing international scientific research and collaboration.
Several Pairing Scheme scientists spent a 'week in Westminster' that included tours of the Houses of Parliament, talks from the leaders of the various parliamentary science groups including the Chief Scientific Advisor and interactive sessions on scientific advice in emergencies.
Beverley Okoye made a reciprocal visit to BGS HQ at Keyworth, meeting the BGS international team and discussing how further collaboration between BGS and BIS could be mutually beneficial.
The UK Government aims to promote and strengthen UK scientific expertise, innovation and collaboration worldwide, and is thus supportive of the BGS as a world leader in research and delivery of applied geoscience across the globe.
BGS geologists presented their latest research on critical metals at the Geores 2011 Scottish Minerals meeting at Murchison House, in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15 November.
The EU and the UK are heavily dependent on imports of many metals. Some of these, which are economically important and yet potentially vulnerable to supply disruption, are termed ‘critical metals’. These include the rare earth elements, the platinum group metals, cobalt and tungsten all of which are being used in increasing amounts globally. They are particularly important in a range of emerging technologies, such as clean energy where they are used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and photovoltaics.
There are no economic deposits of critical metals known in Scotland at present. However, there are indications in several areas that resources of some of these metals might exist. For example, high concentrations of rare earths have been identified in rock samples near Tongue in Sutherland and of platinum-group metals in Shetland and Aberdeenshire.
BGS Principal Economic Geologist, Gus Gunn, said: 'BGS is currently undertaking research to understand the processes responsible for the rare earth enrichments in Sutherland, although considerable further work would be required to identify any economic deposits of critical metals in Scotland.'
More about Geores 2011
The BGS has won a contract from Defra (SP1008) to determine the typical background concentrations of contaminants in soils.The Background Concentrations of Contaminants in Soils (BCCS) Project will use the significant soil chemistry data sets that are now available from England for rural and urban areas to determine 'normal' soil concentrations for contaminants. The 60 000 BGS G-BASE soil samples will form an important part of this project. The work is part of the process to simplify the contaminated land statutory guidance which supports Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. As part of this project a definition of a contaminant's normal background concentration in soil will be developed to help to more clearly define soils that are not contaminated land in the legal sense, and help focus resources on dealing with land that may pose a significant environmental and health risk. The project started in November 2011 and will last for six months.
As part of the process to evaluate a potential potash deposit in North Yorkshire, the BGS has been contracted by York Potash Ltd, a part of Sirius Minerals Plc to characterise core material recovered from a series of six exploration boreholes.
Potash provides a critical source of potassium for fertilizers which are increasingly in demand to boost crop yields and resistance to disease to satisfy the escalating world population.
Sirius Minerals holds various onshore and offshore mineral rights agreements covering 621  km2 between the towns of Whitby and Scarborough. Based on an analysis of existing data, a JORC Exploration Target1 of between 3.3 and 6 billion tonnes of 67% to 94% polyhalite (19% to 27% K2SO4) has been established for the currently contracted area. Likewise, a JORC Exploration Target of between 330 and 400 million tonnes of 35% to 40% potassium chloride (KCl) has also been established for the project.
The boreholes are planned to intersect the Permian evaporite sequence at depths between 1150 and 1700 m, and three potash-bearing horizons in particular: the Sneaton Potash Seam, the Boulby Potash Seam and the Fordon Polyhalite Seam. The polyhalite is the primary target of the exploration and the two potash horizons are secondary targets.
BGS was contracted to carry out the work on the basis of its expertise, reputation and impartiality and that it could offer the full range of required core curation, inspection and photography facilities as well as state-of-the art mineralogical and geochemical analyses at its Keyworth headquarters.
1 The JORC Exploration Target estimates of quantity and grade are conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define a Mineral Resource on the property and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in discovery of a Mineral Resource on the property. The estimates are not a Reserve or Resource statement in accordance with an AIM recognised Standard and should not therefore be relied upon as such.