QICS UK-Japan collaboration

Battery-powered AUV used to collect data in Ardmucknish Bay
Scientists recovering a AUV from the water of Ardmucknish Bay
Array of cables recording electrical potential and resistivity of the sea bed sediment

The Japanese research consortium contribution has made available a range of techniques not available in the UK and there has been mutual benefit to both parties (Figures 1 to 3).

  • The Japanese researchers mapped pH, carbon dioxide, chlorophyll content and oxygenation of the water 2 metres above the sea bed using a battery-operated miniature submarine.
  • A ship board sensor mapped CO2 content of the air just above sea level over the release site.
  • Spear sensors that penetrate the sea floor were used by the researchers to measure pH, oxygenation and composition beneath the sea bed.
  • Chemical composition is predicted by calculating reactions with CO2 using numerical methods.
  • Phosphorus content, as a marker for CO2 exposure, has been assessed from chemical data gathered at the QICS release site.
  • The effect on benthic micro-organisms of nitrification of the sea floor sediment associated with the CO2 release.
  • Camera observations of bubble streams and behaviour of sea floor and swimming fauna (crabs, urchins, sea stars, fish) on the CO2 release.
There is significant potential for continued scientific exchange and export of UK leadership in environmental knowledge for Carbon Capture and Storage including the development of public understanding.

The QICS project invested nearly £0.5M in engineering the marine release facility which is designed to be reusable. Consortium scientists believe that a 'QICS 2' experiment would be highly valuable, primarily to allow the testing of (pre-) operational monitoring tools and additionally improve quantification of fluxes (now we know what to look for) and address gaps in the impact assessment.

The Japanese consortium has expressed a strong interest in 'QICS 2' as have researchers from Norway and the USA. No explicit UK funding stream currently exists but the QICS Principle Investigators are developing a scoping document with international expressions of interest.

International exposure of the QICS project, for example at the Green House Gas Technology-11 conference in Kyoto November 2012 and International Energy Agency Green House Gas workshop, have established the UK as world leading in respect of Carbon Capture and Storage environmental studies.