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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Geological storage of CO2 into oceanic crust

Currently Active: 

The geological sequestration of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is one of the most pressing scientific problems and in recent years several approaches have been investigated for stable capture and storage. One of the proposed techniques describes the injection of CO2 into geological formations as a secure method to reduce the amount of this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Pilot studies are underway at sites on land, but our goal is to evaluate the potential for storing carbon in the subseafloor (seep-sea basalts and peridotites), in order to determine the constraints on the applicability of the injections.

Global surface temperature trend and Atmospheric CO2 (From NASA-GISS, CDIAC NOAA ESRL)
Surface temperature and CO2 trend

Scientific Questions

  1. Physical Perameters
    • What are the physical constraints (e.g. pressure, temperature and density) of CO2 and seawater into the oceanic crust?
    • How much does the sediment thickness influence the variations of temperature/heat flow at the sediment-basement interface?
    • How much does the water depth influence the variation of temperature/heat flow at the sediment-basement interface?
    • What would be the effects on physical perameters if a mixture if water and carbon dioxide was injected into the oceanic crust?
  2. Geochemical effects
    • What would be the geochemical change of the guest rocks?
    • What are the best geochemical conditions for the deposition of CO2 as a carbonate?
CO2 sequestration into oceanic crust (Modified from IODP Science plan for 2013-2023, illuminating Earth's Past, Present and Future, 2011)
CO2 sequestration into ocean crust

Experimental Sites

  • Are there locations in the ocean where CO2 is denser than seawater at the sediment-basement interface?
  • What are the lithologies of the sediments and the volcanic rocks present in these sites?
  • Are there sources of anthropogenic CO2 in the surrounding area from which drawing?
  • How big should a reservoir be considered exploitable and economically advantageous?





Storage security and performace of several CO2 trapping methods (modified from IPCC Goldberg and Slagle, 2005)
CO2 trapping method performance

Key Contacts

Prof. Damon Teagle (Project Supervisor)
Prof. Martin Palmer (Project Supervisor)
Dr. Nick Woodman (Project Supervisor)
Prof. David Sanderson (Project Supervisor)

Miss Chiara Marieni (Postgraduate Researcher)

Prof. Tim Henstock (Collaborator)
Dr. Rosalind Coggon (Collaborator)
Dr. Michelle Harris (Collaborator)

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Associated research themes

Carbon Storage and Geoengineering

Past Present and Future Environmental Change

Hydrothermal Processes and Mineral Deposits

Formation and Evolution of the Ocean Crust

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