Decarbonisation and resource management

BGS Research

Ince Marshes © Peter Corcoran

The Decarbonisation and Resource Management challenge (DRM) fits within the context of increased need to decarbonise energy and industry, a 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 long-term, safe management of radioactive waste but it requires understanding of 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.


> Radioactive waste research

The CO2 Storage 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.


> Carbon capture and storage research

Energy storage is a new topic area for BGS with the following strategy:

  • 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


> Energy storage research

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 the next five years. 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 over the next 5-10 years.  The research will be delivered through three subtopics :

  • Geothermal Road Map
  • Geothermal potential of Carboniferous Basins
  • Subsurface Urban Heat Resources


> Geothermal energy research

The hydrocarbons systems topic will support UK and overseas governments, the World Bank, other national geoscience organisations, oil company consortia and Oil and Gas UK by providing geological advice and research in exploration and development activity. The long term strategy of the topic area is to develop sustainable hydrocarbon systems for the energy transition and decarbonisation.

> Hydrocarbon systems research

Understanding the origin, transport and concentration of the metals and materials that are critical for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

> Critical raw materials research

Monitoring global mineral production, trade flows and mineral statistics to ensure a sustainable supply of resources for a low-carbon economy.

> Mineral resources research

Our facilities

Geomicrobiology laboratory

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.

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Rock Volume Characterisation Laboratory Cluster

This cluster studies the structural and compositional characterisation of rocks and their constituent parts.

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UK Geoenergy Observatories

UK Geoenergy Observatories are facilitating a step change in our understanding of geology and our relationship with the underground environment.

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