Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage

Jerry Blackford*, Henrik Stahl, Jonathan M. Bull, Benoit J. P. Berges, Melis Cevatoglu, Anna Lichtschlag, Douglas Connelly, Rachael H. James, Jun Kita, Dave Long, Mark Naylor, Kiminori Shitashima, Dave Smith, Peter Taylor, Ian Wright, Maxine Akhurst, Baixin Chen, Tom M. Gernon, Chris Hauton, Masatoshi HayashiHideshi Kaieda, Timothy G. Leighton, Toru Sato, Martin D. J. Sayer, Masahiro Suzumura, Karen Tait, Mark E. Vardy, Paul R. White, Steve Widdicombe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)


Fossil fuel power generation and other industrial emissions of carbon dioxide are a threat to global climate, yet many economies will remain reliant on these technologies for several decades. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) in deep geological formations provides an effective option to remove these emissions from the climate system. In many regions storage reservoirs are located offshore, over a kilometre or more below societally important shelf seas. Therefore, concerns about the possibility of leakage and potential environmental impacts, along with economics, have contributed to delaying development of operational CCS. Here we investigate the detectability and environmental impact of leakage from a controlled sub-seabed release of CO2 . We show that the biological impact and footprint of this small leak analogue (<1 tonne CO2 d â '1) is confined to a few tens of metres. Migration of CO2 through the shallow seabed is influenced by near-surface sediment structure, and by dissolution and re-precipitation of calcium carbonate naturally present in sediments. Results reported here advance the understanding of environmental sensitivity to leakage and identify appropriate monitoring strategies for full-scale carbon storage operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1016
Number of pages6
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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