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

Research project: Quantifying and Monitoring Potential Ecosystem Impacts of Geological Carbon Storage (QICS)

Currently Active: 

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is considered as a key technology in order to mitigate greenhouse atmospheric concentrations. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) is stored in a saline aquifer in the North Sea, Sleipner since 1996, there are still many concerns about the safety and permanency of geological carbon storage operations. In order to broaden the usage of CCS worldwide, it is crucial to demonstrate its efficiency and reliability, as well as to evaluate its potential impacts on the ecosystem in case of leakage. To that aim, the very first controlled CO2 release experiment, QICS, aims to improve our understanding in CO2 behaviour once it has been injected into sediments. In addition, effective monitoring technologies will be investigated to detect any leakage from CO2 injection sites.


In order to realize QICS experiment, a borehole was drilled from land in the Ardmucknish Bay, Oban, and CO2 is injected in a controlled way into shallow marine sediments over 36 days (Fig.1). A comprehensive dataset was collected before release, during release and in the recovery period, to assess physical, chemical and biological response of the sediments and the overlying water column to CO2 injection. High resolution geophysics (Fig.2), geochemistry, biology and hydroacoustics will be used to evaluate the impact of the injected CO2 as well as to quantify  the amount of CO2 within sediments and the water column.

Photographic and video surveys, which also took place during QICS experiment, facilitated the detection of leakage.

Schematic of CO2 injection in shallow sediments of Ardmucknish Bay, OBAN, under the scope of QICS project
Figure 1 (Source:

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Key Contacts:

Prof. Jonathan M. Bull,
Prof. Ian C. Wright,
Melis Cevatoglu,
Dr. Mark E. Vardy,
Dr. Thomas  M. Gernon

Figure 2
Figure 2 (Source: M. Cevatoglu)

PhDs and Other Opportunities


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