CO2 storage

BGS is recognised as a European centre of excellence for the study of carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report. We have a dedicated CCS team active in a number of research areas including:

  • character and capacity of potential underground storage reservoirs
  • potential chemical interactions of injected CO2 with the surrounding rocks
  • storage site monitoring technologies and integrated monitoring strategies
  • assessment of long-term site performance including evaluating consequences of potential leakage

See our Discovering geology pages for an Introduction to carbon capture and storage (CCS)


Developing a suitable regulatory framework for CO2 storage is a high priority, and BGS has a key technical advisory role, both in the UK and overseas. We have provided expert technical advice to policymakers in the UK and Europe who are responsible for regulating the deployment of CCS.

Peer review

Members of the CCS Team also undertake a range of expert peer-reviews for a number of international CCS demonstration projects on behalf of governments or industrial project consortia. This is exemplified by the UK competition to build the first ‘full chain’ CCS system, where we are acting as technical advisors to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the bid evaluation process.

CCS in the UK and Republic of Ireland

The large-scale application of carbon capture and storage may increase the use of Britain’s coal — a home-grown resource — in electricity generation, as well as allowing removal of CO2 from other major industrial sources like steelworks and refineries.

CCS technology can make a significant reduction in UK emissions if it were applied to a relatively small number of industrial plants. The UK’s major potential for long-term storage of CO2 is in:

  • offshore oil and gas fields
  • offshore saline water-bearing reservoir rocks

A CO2 GIS has been developed as a result of UK studies and further information about storage potential can be found in the UK study report produced for BERR in 2006.

In 2008 the CCS Team carried out the first assessment for geological CO2 storage for the whole of Ireland in a study lead by SLR consulting, Ireland (formerly the CSA Group) and funded by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

BGS international work

CCS in Europe

The CCS Team has been involved in the following European research:

  • co-ordinating the European Network of Excellence — CO2GeoNet
  • Dynamis — towards hydrogen and electricity production with CCS
  • EU GeoCapacity project — assessing European capacity for geological storage of carbon dioxide
  • CO2ReMoVe — playing a leading role in this integrated project aimed at improving methodologies for storage site performance assessment and monitoring
  • RISCS - to improve our understanding of the possible environmental impacts of geological storage of CO2
  • CO2CARE – addressing the research requirements of CO2 storage site closure.
  • SiteChar – characterisation of European storage
  • CGS Europe – Pan-European coordination action of CO2 Geological Storage
  • BIGCCS – International CCS Research Centre

In 2008, the Best Practice Manual for the Storage of CO2 in Saline Aquifers was produced. This multi-partner volume, published by BGS, distils the findings of a number of recent European projects to summarise the latest understanding of storage site characterisation and operation.

CCS in China

The CCS Team is also active in China, in the COACH and NZEC projects, working with Chinese and European partners to identify opportunities and evaluate potential for geological storage of carbon dioxide in selected regions of north-east China. The BGS co-leads the geological storage work-package for NZEC alongside the China University of Petroleum (CUP, Beijing).

UK CCS Research Centre (UKCCSRC)


BGS is a founder member of the UKCCS Research Centre with representation on the Centre Co-ordination Group. We also provide two of the Centre Research Area Champions, with particular responsibility for co-ordinating and steering research activity in storage site monitoring and regulatory issues. A key element of the UKCCSRC is the Data and Information Archive which BGS is responsible for hosting and maintaining.

GeoEnergy Research Centre (GERC)


The GeoEnergy Research Centre (GERC) is an independent, collaborative institution co-founded by two of the UK's acknowledged pioneers in the fight against climate change; the British Geological Survey and the University of Nottingham.

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS)


Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) is a partnership between the British Geological Survey, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen.

It is the UK’s largest CCS research group, with researchers engaged in projects and joint industry projects across the full CCS chain.

Visit the SCCS interactive 'Global CCS Map' which provides a world view of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. It holds information on projects of all scales and at all stages of development — planned and operating, and including cancelled projects of interest.

Further research areas for CCS

CRIUS project

The CRIUS project (Carbon Research into Underground Storage) is a consortium funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and involves scientists from the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester and Leeds and the British Geological Survey. The project is studying fluids and gasses from natural CO2 reservoirs and from sites where CO2 is being actively injected underground to:

  • determine the rates of the mineral-water-CO2 reactions in natural settings
  • duplicate reactions in laboratory experiments
  • study the processes under controlled conditions

The ultimate objective is to inform site assessment, risk and monitoring for geological carbon storage operations.

DiSECCS project

DiSECCS (Diagnostic Seismic Toolbox for Efficient Control of CO2 Storage) is a three-year research project led by BGS and funded by the EPSRC. It aims to develop a suite of seismic tools and methods to characterise fine-scale fluid changes in storage reservoirs, to identify and measure pressure increase in reservoirs and to characterise associated geomechanical changes. It is also carrying out social research into the extent to which effective monitoring of underground injection operations can assuage public concerns.

QICS project

The QICS project (Quantifying and Monitoring Potential Ecosystem Impacts of Geological Carbon Storage) is a consortium lead by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The British Geological Survey is involved on this three year project to investigate the nature and probability of leakage from a geological storage site. The project will inform operational and risk assessment procedures for future CCS installations.


Contact Jonathan Pearce for further information

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