Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Carbon (dioxide) Capture and Storage (CCS) is used as a mitigation strategy for addressing the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are working to deliver new approaches, methodologies and tools for the safe and efficient operation of offshore storage sites.

CCS has been identified as a climate change mitigation strategy which can significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere from fossil fuel based power generation and other industrial sources. In the UK and many other countries the best storage reservoirs occur in offshore geological formations several 100s of metres below the sea floor. Assurance that the CO2 remains permanently stored is important from both a climate change and local environmental perspective.

We are conducting research underpinning the environmentally safe and sustainable implementation of CCS by developing strategies and systems for effective monitoring and environmental impact assessment, which will increase confidence in CCS as a viable option for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, benefiting a broad range of stakeholders from regulatory bodies, to industry and the wider CCS community.

Our approach combines observations, field experiments, laboratory work and mathematical modelling to gain a better understanding of the behaviour of CO2 in marine systems and how best to detect anomalous events.

Making a difference

Our CCS work has made an international impact on policy, by informing the London Convention on disposal at sea. We work closely with industry and policy makers, to quantify and lower operational risk as well as by proposing cost effective monitoring strategies. With the potential expansion of CCS in forthcoming years, this work has great potential for future application.

Further information

For further information about modelling, monitoring or detection contact Jerry Blackford ( and for information about the ecological impacts of CCS contact Steve Widdicombe (


UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA)

UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA)

Contact: Dr Carol Turley

The 5 year UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) worked alongside international partner programmes as the UK’s response to...


Biological Pump and Carbon Exchange Processes (BICEP)

Contact: Dr Shubha Sathyendranath

The ocean carbon cycle is a vital part of the global carbon cycle. It has been estimated that around a quarter of anthropogenically-produced...

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Other recent news articles


CCS controlled leak results

This week in Nature Climate Change an international team of scientists has published results of the first ever sub-sea carbon dioxide impact, detection and monitoring experiment relevant to Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) in sub-seabed storage reservoirs.


Seaweed helps to trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

New research led by scientists from Plymouth Marine Laboratory shows, for the first time, the important role that the connectivity between macroalgae (seaweed) and the seabed plays in permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This has crucial implications for e...


Video victory for PML scientist

A video created by PML scientist Pierre Cazenave has won an award in the ARCHER Competition 2018.

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Selected key publications

Blackford, JC; Artioli, Y; Clark, J; de Mora, L. 2017. Monitoring of offshore geological carbon storage integrity: implications of natural variability in the marine system and the assessment of anomaly detection criteria International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 64, 99-112 doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2017.06.020

Blackford, J; Bull, JM; Cevatoglu, M; Connelly, D; Hauton, C; James, RH; Lichtschlag, A; Stahl, H; Widdicombe, S; Wright, IC. 2015. Marine baseline and monitoring strategies for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS). International Journal Greenhouse Gas Control, 38, 221-229. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.10.004

Blackford, JC; Stahl, H; Bull, JM; Bergès, BJP; Cevatoglu, M; Lichtschlag, A; Connelly, DP; James, RH; Kita, J; Long, D; Naylor, M; Shitashima, K; Smith, D; Taylor, P; Wright, I; Akhurst, M; Chen, B; Gernon, TM; Hauton, C; Hayashi, M; Kaieda, H; Leighton, TG; Sato, T; Sayer, MDJ; Suzumura, M; Tait, K; Vardy, ME; White, PR; Widdicombe, S. 2014. Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage. Nature Climate Change 4, 1011-1016. doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2381

Jones, DG; Beaubien, SE; Blackford, JC; Foekema, EM; Lions, J; De Vittor, C; West, JM; Widdicombe, S; Hauton, C; Queirós, AM.2015. Developments since 2005 in understanding potential environmental impacts of CO2 leakage from geological storage. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 40, 350-377. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.05.032

Lessin, G; Artioli, Y; Queirós, AM; Widdicombe, S; Jerry C. Blackford, JC. 2016. Modelling impacts and recovery in benthic communities exposed to localised high CO2, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109(1), 267-280. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.05.071.

Tait, K; Stahl, H; Taylor, P; Widdicombe, S. 2015. Rapid response of the active microbial community to CO2 exposure from a controlled sub-seabed CO2 leak in Ardmucknish Bay (Oban, Scotland). International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 38, 171-181. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.11.021

Widdicombe, S; McNeill, CL; Stahl, H; Taylor, P; Queirós, AM; Nunes, J; Tait, K. 2015. Impact of sub-seabed CO2 leakage on macrobenthic community structure and diversity. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 38, 182-192. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.01.003

Related recent publications

  1. Small, DP; Calosi, P; Rastrick, SPS; Turner, LM; Widdicombe, S; Spicer, JI. 2020 The effects of elevated temperature and PCO2 on the energetics and haemolymph pH homeostasis of juveniles of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 223 (8). 223. (In Press)
    View publication

  2. Blackford, JC; Alendal, G; Avlesen, H; Brereton, A; Cazenave, PW; Chen, B; Dewar, M; Holt, J; Phelps, J. 2020 Impact and detectability of hypothetical CCS offshore seep scenarios as an aid to storage assurance and risk assessment. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 95. 102949.
    View publication

  3. Murray, F; Widdicombe, S; McNeill, CL; Douglas, A. 2017 Assessing the consequences of environmental impacts: variation in species responses has unpredictable functional effects. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 583. 35-47.
    View publication

  4. Rastelli, E; Corinaldesi, C; Dell’Anno, A; Amaro, T; Queiros, AM; Widdicombe, S; Danovaro, R. 2015 Impact of CO2 leakage from sub-seabed carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) reservoirs on benthic virus–prokaryote interactions and functions. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6.
    View publication

  5. Lessin, G; Artioli, Y; Queiros, AM; Widdicombe, S; Blackford, JC. 2016 Modelling impacts and recovery in benthic communities exposed to localised high CO2. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109 (1). 267-280.
    View publication

View our recent publications