The RISCS Project (Research into Impacts and Safety in CO2 Storage) has completed a 4-year research programme aimed at improving understanding of the possible environmental impacts of geological storage of CO2. Potential impacts were studied and used to provide guidance to help ensure the safe selection and management of CO2 storage sites. Key results have been published in 'A Guide to Potential Impacts of Leakage from CO2 Storage'.
Quintessa contributed to the project in four main ways:
- leading the development of a set of credible impact scenarios to help guide the project and communicate its results (Scenarios for Potential Impacts from Hypothetical Leakage from Geological Storage Facilities for Carbon Dioxide);
- developing numerical models of possible impacts on vegetation from unexpected CO2 leakage in terrestrial environments;
- contributing to the RISCS Guide; and
- updating Quintessa’s database of Features Events and Processes (FEPs) - a tool to aid safety assessments for CO2 storage - to reflect the findings of the RISCS project.
To model possible impacts on vegetation from CO2 leakage, Quintessa developed a systems model and implemented it using Quintessa’s QPAC software. The model was designed to simulate the transfer of CO2 from the subsurface into the atmosphere alongside the uptake of the CO2 into plants and was tested against results from field experiments at the ASGARD test site in central England (undertaken by the University of Nottingham) and at Grimsrud Farm in southern Norway (undertaken by Bioforsk).
The systems model was shown to be capable of reproducing the main observations at these sites. It showed that a proportion of leaking CO2 could pass through the soil zone (e.g. via fractures) without interacting significantly with plant roots, thereby reducing impacts.
The RISCS project was undertaken over a period of 4 years and coordinated by the British Geological Survey who led a consortium of 21 organisations. Funding was provided by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 240837 and industry partners ENEL I&I, Statoil, Vattenfall AB, E.ON and RWE. R&D partners were BGS, CERTH, IMARES, OGS, PML, SINTEF, University of Nottingham, Sapienza Università di Roma, Quintessa, CO2GeoNet, Bioforsk, BGR and ZERO. Three R&D institutes outside Europe participated in RISCS: CO2CRC from Australia, University of Regina from Canada and Montana State University from the USA as well as the IEA Greenhouse Gas R & D Programme.