QICS Project aims and deliverables

Why the QICS Research Project?

Researching methods into reducing greenhouse gas emissions is of huge importance. It is vital that we increase our knowledge in this area as a matter of urgency. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is one such method that is attracting significant international effort. This proposal will vastly improve our understanding of what effects a leak from a CCS system might have on the environment.

What will we deliver?

A key aim of the project is to ensure that the information we collect can be directly applied and fully understood by policy makers, planners, public bodies and the public with an interest in planned CCS projects.

We will deliver

  • Information that will support an ecological risk assessment of CCS.
  • A guide to minimising potential ecological impacts from CCS.
  • Models that can evaluate a variety of hypothetical leak scenarios.
  • Guidelines for the detection and monitoring of leaks.
  • Reports and web pages that clearly explain and summarise the projects findings.
To achieve this we are working closely with stakeholders including CO2 producers (for example, industry and power stations), policy makers, management organisations and environmental organisations.

What are our scientific aims?

An understanding of the impacts of a leak from a CCS system remains a very complex scientific problem. It involves many areas of science, including geology, chemistry and biology as well as the physics of CO2 transfer and dispersion. We have three main scientific aims:
  • To establish how CO2 behaves and moves in different environments from the deep geological storage reservoirs, to the seabed and finally into the atmosphere.
  • To evaluate the biogeochemical and ecological impacts of a CO2 leak in shallow marine sediments and seawater.
  • To establish methods for the early detection and monitoring of leaks.
Our research will be fully integrated with other CCS studies (both past, ongoing and proposed) to maximise the scientific return for the Natural Environment Research Council (the project’s funders) and UK tax payers.

Project organisation

To deliver our aims we have a number of specific objectives which are described as follows; each objective has an individual work package or activity:
  • To work with stakeholders to ensure that we are carrying out the best research possible in order to produce a set of tools, reports and guides that can be easily used and understood.
  • Determine the manifestation of a potential CO2 leak from the geological storage reservoir to the marine ecosystem in a typical North Sea setting in Work Package 1.
  • Integrate existing physical, biogeochemical and ecological models of the shallow sediments and water column. The development of this will allow us to create a method to predict the ‘footprint’ and impact of a leak from a CCS system in Work Package 2.
  • Quantify the impacts of any CO2 released on the marine sediment and water chemistry in Work Package 3.
  • Determine the impact of CO2 leakage on sea floor ecosystems in Work Package 4.
  • Evaluate the techniques and methods for monitoring leaks, in Work Package 5.
  • Evaluate the impact of a wide range of leak scenarios, and to devise a risk assessment plan and mitigation strategy in Work Package 6.