University scientists involved in landmark CO2 storage site selection study

University of Aberdeen scientists have been involved in a collaborative study that proposes a rigorous approach to choosing geological CO2 storage sites for a live carbon capture and storage (CCS)* project in north-east Scotland.

Based at the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead, the Acorn CCS Project seeks to repurpose existing gas pipelines to take CO2 directly to the Acorn CO2 Storage Site.

Geoscientists engaged in selecting an additional storage site for the project, which could be storing CO2 from Scotland’s industrial clusters by the middle of this decade, assessed different aspects of potential storage sites, including rock characteristics, hydrocarbon history, economics and safety requirements.

Due diligence assessments, which included new interpretation of geological data, was carried out to produce detailed pictures of CO2 storage properties, resource quantities and suitability for each site. Finally, the results were shared with independent stakeholders to elicit feedback on the criteria used in the site selection process.

The result of these exhaustive analyses is what the researchers term a “criteria-driven approach” to choosing the East Mey storage site for the Acorn Project and a methodology that can be applied to CCS projects in other countries. 

Clare Bond, from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Geosciences, worked with counterparts from Heriot-Watt University, Pale Blue Dot Energy (PBDE), University of Edinburgh, and the University of Liverpool as part of the study**, which has been published in the Marine and Petroleum Geology journal.

She said: “It was great to work on this project alongside academic and industry partners. It is really exciting to see carbon storage becoming a reality in the UK North Sea and our research helping in the energy transition to net zero.”