The decarbonisation and resource management challenge area fits within the context of the increased need to decarbonise energy and industry, the need to use resources more optimally, intense global competition for resources and a need to expand the delivery of affordable, sustainable energy across the world .
Deep geological disposal is a key solution to the long-term, safe management of radioactive waste but it requires understanding complex subsurface processes for up to one million years in the future. Important science considerations include:
- containment: understanding of subsurface fluid processes is vital to the containment of radioactive materials
- siting: understanding the geology of a geo-disposal site will inform safe site selection
The carbon capture and storage (CCS) topic will support the UK, Europe and other countries in developing safe, efficient CO2 storage, to decarbonise industry, power, transport and heating to meet net zero targets.
- Planning a CO2 storage site: developing a carbon dioxide (CO₂) storage pilot.
- Developing and maintaining technologies and methodologies: predicting the evolution of the CO₂ plume by observing site behaviour before, during and after injection of CO₂
- Containment: selecting and characterising geological sites that are expected to enable permanent containment.
- CO₂ injection, pressure management and storage optimisation: understanding the limits on pressure increases, improving methods for injection and managing pressure increases.
- Planning and licensing regulation.
Energy storage is a new topic area for the BGS. The strategy is:
- to quantify the energy storage potential (capacity and location) offered by UK geological formations
- to investigate and address geological barriers and hazards associated with the deployment of underground energy storage
- to improve knowledge of thermal, hydrogeological, mechanical, chemical and microbiological influences on underground energy storage
- to establish collaborative and innovative approaches to address these objectives
The emphasis of this topic’s research will be on the UK, where rapid development of geothermal power and heat and geo-exchange applications is urgently needed. Three priority areas have been identified that will be the focus of the topic’s activities over its lifetime.
Research in these areas is expected to have considerable impact, e.g. through reducing uncertainties in resource identification, supporting policy and regulation, and by generating knowledge that supports technology deployment and increases the numbers of geothermal applications in the UK before 2030.
The research will be delivered through three subtopics:
- geothermal road map
- geothermal potential of Carboniferous basins
- subsurface urban heat resources
Understanding the origin, transport and concentration of the metals and materials that are critical for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Monitoring global mineral production, trade flows and mineral statistics to ensure a sustainable supply of resources for a low-carbon economy.
Geodisposal: radioactive waste
The BGS has provided geological data and interpretations concerning the safe storage and disposal of radioactive waste for nearly 70 years.
Mineral resource security and flows
We comprehensively monitor mineral production, trade flows and other relevant statistics within the UK to respond to the economy’s demand for raw materials.
Critical raw materials
All minerals and metals used in manufacturing, including recycled material, have ultimately been mined from the Earth’s crust.
BGS has a sustained track record of energy storage research, which will underpin future laboratory, field and GIS-based activities and commissions.
The term ‘geothermal energy’ refers to any heat derived from the ground, from depths of a few metres to multiple kilometres beneath the earth surface.
The BGS works with UK and overseas governments to provide geological and oil prospectivity advice.
Carbon capture and storage
The BGS is recognised as a European centre of excellence for the study of carbon dioxide storage. We have a dedicated team active in a number of research areas.
Fluid and Rock Processes Laboratory Cluster
This cluster does research to identify, measure and quantify complex geological and environmental processes essential in the efficient utilisation of natural resources and underground spaces.
Rock Volume Characterisation Laboratory Cluster
This cluster studies the structural and compositional characterisation of rocks and their constituent parts at all scales.
UK Geoenergy Observatories
UK Geoenergy Observatories are facilitating a step change in our understanding of geology and our relationship with the underground environment.
Our core challenge areas
Collaboration, progress and emerging themes in mine-water heating, cooling and storage
BGS, the Coal Authority and IEA Geothermal held the third Mine Water Energy Symposium to enhance collaboration and knowledge exchange around the world.
Report identifies areas of the UK prospective for critical raw materials
Areas from the Highlands to south-west England have the right geology to be prospective for several critical raw materials such as lithium and graphite, according to a new report.
World Mineral Production 2017 to 2021 is now available
The latest edition of World Mineral Production has been released.
Scientists discover regions of the UK with greatest potential to use heat from deep thermal waters
BGS geologists have mapped the UK’s potential to use heat from thermal groundwater deep beneath central and southern Britain.
UK Geoenergy Observatories — open events in Glasgow
Event from 26/04/2023 to 27/04/2023
You are invited to visit the UK Geoenergy Observatory in Glasgow, to find out more about what the facility can offer you as a potential user.
Work complete on 1000 solar panels at BGS
More than 1000 energy-saving solar panels have been installed at BGS’s headquarters in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire.
UK Geoenergy Observatories: time zero for net zero
The BGS-led UK Geoenergy Observatories project is shining a light on the subsurface’s potential to provide geothermal energy.
BGS supports development of a local land-use framework for Devon
The framework will help to identify data improvements to support more joined-up decision making about land use in Devon.
Understanding long-term burial of organic carbon deposits
Carbon sequestration is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, by capturing and storing it, contributing to climate change reduction.
Deep-sea mining evidence review published
The deep-sea mining independent evidence review report was commissioned by the UK Government to inform its policy in relation to deep-sea mining.
BGS joins European Geothermal Congress to highlight UK’s geothermal potential
The European Geothermal Congress will discuss how the geothermal sector can help with the energy crisis.
Zambia: the copper mining powerhouse looking towards a safer, low-carbon future
BGS scientists Clive Mitchell (industrial minerals geologist) and Elliott Hamilton (environmental chemist) report on their recent visit to the Copperbelt Province in Zambia.