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An initial assessment of the potential environmental impact of CO2 escape from marine carbon capture and storage systems


Blackford, J and Jones, N and Proctor, R and Holt, J and Widdicombe, S and Lowe, D and Rees, A, An initial assessment of the potential environmental impact of CO2 escape from marine carbon capture and storage systems, Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 223, (A3) pp. 269-280. ISSN 0957-6509 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2009 IMechE

DOI: doi:10.1243/09576509JPE623


If carbon capture and storage is to be adopted as a CO2 mitigation strategy, it is important to understand the associated risks. The risk analysis consists of several elements such as leakage probability, assessing the strength of environmental perturbation, and quantifying the ecological, economic, and social impacts. Here, the environmental perturbation aspect is addressed by using a marine system model of the North West European Shelf seas to simulate the consequences of CO2 additions such as those that could arise from a failure of geological sequestration schemes. Little information exists to guide the choice of leak scenario and many assumptions are required; for consistency the assumptions err towards greater impact and what would be in likelihood extreme scenarios. The simulations indicate that only the largest leakage scenarios tested are capable of producing perturbations that are likely to have environmental consequences beyond the locality of a leak event. It is shown that, given the available evidence, the chemical perturbation of a sequestration leak, regionally integrated, is likely to be insignificant when compared with that from continued non-mitigated atmospheric CO2 emissions and the subsequent acidification of the marine system. The potential ecological impacts of a large environmental CO 2 perturbation are reviewed, indicating that the biogeochemical functioning and biodiversity are sensitive. The key unknowns that must be addressed in future research are identified; namely, the fine scale dispersion of CO2 and the ability of ecological systems to recover from perturbation. © 2009 IMechE.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Oceanography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Climate change mitigation strategies
UTAS Author:Proctor, R (Dr Roger Proctor)
ID Code:75271
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:69
Deposited By:Integrated Marine Observing System
Deposited On:2012-01-19
Last Modified:2017-11-27

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