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Science Topic

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 including hydrogen, other industrial sources or contribute to net negative emissions via direct air capture or BECCS (biomass energy plus CCS). 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.

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.

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Read the research brief

Research findings and further information about CCS are presented in this four page pdf available for download.

CCS research brief

Plymouth Marine Laboratory. 2024. Carbon Capture and Storage: Environmental monitoring strategies for safe implementation. Research Brief: April 2024. Plymouth, UK. 4pp.



  • High resolution, two phase modelling of CO2 and brines in seawater
  • Baseline assessment of marine biogeochemistry
  • Physiological responses of biota to elevated CO2

Selected publications

Alendal, G; Blackford, J; Dankel, DJ; Dewar, M; Fagerås, B; Environmental, O; Gundersen, K; Heffron, R; Lien, M; and Olyenik, A; 2021. Assurance offshore monitoring, a cross-disciplinary approach. Bollettino di Geofisica.

Amaro, T; Bertocci, I; Queiros, AM; Rastelli, E; Borgersen, G; Brkljacic, M; Nunes, J; Sorensen, K; Danovaro, R and Widdicombe, S; 2018. Effects of sub-seabed CO2 leakage: Short- and medium-term responses of benthic macrofaunal assemblages. Marine Pollution Bulletin 128, 519-526.

Blackford, J; Alendal, G; Avlesen, H; Brereton, A; Cazenave, PW; Chen, BX; Dewar, M; Holt, J and 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.

Blackford, J; Artioli, Y; Clark, J and 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.

Blackford, J; Bull, JM; Cevatoglu, M; Connelly, D; Hauton, C; James, RH; Lichtschlag, A; Stahl, H; Widdicombe, S and Wright, IC; 2015. Marine baseline and monitoring strategies for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Blackford, J; Romanak, K; Huvenne, VA; Lichtschlag, A; Strong, JA; Alendal, G; Schütz, SE; Oleynik, A and Dankel, DJ; 2021 Efficient marine environmental characterisation to support monitoring of geological CO2 storage. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Blackford, J; Stahl, H; Bull, J; Berges, B; Cevatoglu, M; Lichtschlag, A; et al. 2014. Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage. Nature Climate Change.

Cazenave, PW; Bedington, M; Bruggeman, J; Blackford, J; Artioli, Y; Torres, R; and Dewar, M. 2021. Optimising environmental monitoring for carbon dioxide sequestered offshore. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Connelly, DP; Bull, JM; Flohr, A; Schaap, A; Koopmans, D; Blackford, JC; et al. 2022. Assuring the integrity of offshore carbon dioxide storage. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Dean, M; Blackford, J; Connelly, D and Hines, R; 2020. Insights and guidance for offshore CO2 storage monitoring based on the QICS, ETI MMV, and STEMM-CCS projects. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Dewar, M; Blackford, J; Espie, T; Wilford, S; and Bouffin, N; 2022. Impact potential of hypersaline brines released into the marine environment for CCS reservoir pressure management. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Dewar, M; Saleem, U; Flohr, A; Schaap, A; Strong, J; Li, J; Roche, B; Bull, JM; Chen, B; and Blackford, J; 2021. Analysis of the physicochemical detectability and impacts of offshore CO2 leakage through multi-scale modelling of in-situ experimental data using the PLUME model. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Flohr, A; Schaap, A; Achterberg, EP; Alendal, G; Arundell, M; Berndt, C; Blackford, J; et al. 2021. Towards improved monitoring of offshore carbon storage: A real-world field experiment detecting a controlled sub-seafloor CO2 release. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Lichtschlag, A; Pearce, CR; Suominen, M; Blackford, J; Borisov, SM; Bull, JM; de Beer, D; Dean, M; Esposito, M; Flohr, A; Gros, J; Haeckel, M; Huvenne, VAI; James, RH; Koopmans, D; Linke, P; Mowlem, M; Omar, AM; Schaap, A; Schmidt, M; Sommer, S; Strong, J; and Connelly, DP; 2021. Suitability analysis and revised strategies for marine environmental carbon capture and storage (CCS) monitoring. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

People who work in this area of research

Professor Jerry Blackford

Head of Science: Marine Systems Modelling
jcb7/21/2024 2:57:49

Dr Marius Dewar

made7/21/2024 2:57:49