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CO2MONITOR – Implementation of innovative techniques for the monitoring of CO2 storage sites

The CO2MONITOR Project arises from a scientific topic which has a significant impact on the industrial sector. It consists in a multidisciplinary study focused on the monitoring of potential leakages of CO2 from a storage site. Specific scientific features will be treated, but, after the project experimental phase, the use of specific technologies developed in the framework of the project will be also considered for other scientific sectors.

Monitoring represents a crucial aspect in a CO2 storage project, as also established in the recently implemented EU Directive 2009/31/EC. The monitoring of CO2 sites is a key factor to be considered in the request of the exploration permit and for the public acceptance.

CO2MONITOR targets perfectly fit the National demand of CO2 reduction as well as the European and international research initiatives, where OGS has a role as coordinator or partner.

The project final target is to provide a comprehensive analysis on several geophysical and biological techniques for a deep and shallow/superficial monitoring of onshore and offshore CO2 storage sites, to define the safety standards.

As far as the deep monitoring techniques, the time-lapse multichannel seismic survey (4D seismic) is characterized by a resolution which is able to completely monitor the behaviour of the injected CO2, especially if associated with electromagnetic and microseismicity techniques. In the framework of CO2MONITOR, the reliability of these methods in complex geological areas will be evaluated. Regarding the shallow/superficial methods, the main problem consists in the identification of widespread and low intensity CO2 leakages. In the past, OGS has been involved in the study of the vegetation stress caused by an increase of CO2 concentration, through measurements performed by OGS-owned aircraft on a site where natural CO2 emissions occur (natural laboratory). Since it was not possible to discriminate between vegetation stress related to CO2 and stress induced by local factors, one of the priorities of CO2MONITOR is to utilize a direct CO2 measurement in order to monitor broad areas.

Offshore, the biological and chemical-physical components strongly interact, and thus complex modelling activities are needed in order to properly monitor a CO2 site. A specific target of CO2MONITOR will be the analysis of the role of biomarkers, i.e. CO2-sensitive species which represents the biological marker of episodic or prolonged CO2 emissions.

 

Project tasks

The multidisciplinary CO2MONITOR project will be organized in the following tasks:

  • Integration of seismic tomography and electromagnetic methods, with in-situ tests.
  • Modelling of the microseismicity induced by CO2 injection.
  • Implementation of an innovative method for mapping potential CO2 leakage, through measurements performed by OGS-owned aircraft.
  • Improvement of the monitoring techniques of CO2 in marine environments and identification of CO2 biomarkers.

The results gained in the framework of CO2MONITOR will be resumed in at least 4 scientific papers to be published in international ISI journals.

Aspects of training aimed at young researchers: two research grants for annuity aimed at training young researchers in the topics covered by the project.

In addition to participation in scientific conferences and scientific dissemination standards, a disclosure in the media through participation in programs and articles in large impact journals will be made.

The project results will be presented at national and international conferences and published in ISI journals. The various phases of the project will also be described and made available via the OGS website and those of CO2GeoNet. It recalls the recognized expertise of OGS in the dissemination of results through websites on the CO2 storage techniques, gained through OGS management of sites of European projects CO2GeoNet, CO2ReMoVe, CGS Europe, SiteChar, CO2CARE and ECCSEL.

Project website: http://co2monitor.inogs.it/index.html