Super-critical CO2 experiments

BGS has been involved in investigations to test the behaviour of carbon dioxide (CO2) under a range of temperatures and pressures using a state-of-the-art flow rig. The experiments are designed to simulate the behaviour of CO2 stored long-term in deep underground reservoirs.

Assessing the viability of underground CO2 storage

A sample of Nordland shale, from the Utsira formation in the Sleipner field, prior to gas flow testing

With increasing pressure on government and industry to reduce emissions of CO2 on a major scale, the sequestration of CO2 in the subsurface is under scrutiny as a potential emerging technology. For geological storage of CO2 to become a viable aide to the reduction of man-made emissions, the long-term surety of underground storage must first be investigated and any concerns addressed.

A typical carbon sequestration scenario involves the injection of CO2 into a porous, permeable, reservoir rock which is overlain by a laterally-continuous caprock, or seal, of low permeability. This seal, formed for example by folding or faulting, acts as a structural trap. A combination of physical and chemical mechanisms can then sequester the CO2 within the reservoir. Mechanisms include dissolution into pore fluid, adsorption to mineral surfaces or precipitation as new minerals.

Assessing both the short-term capability of the seal and its long-term durability are both of major importance in establishing performance for carbon storage.

Current activities

BGS is currently involved in research to:

  • characterise the long-term transport behaviour of a range of lithified and unlithified reservoir seals
  • investigate the mineralogy and petrology of pre- and post-test samples to identify the degree of coupling between geochemical processes and flow behaviour


Please contact Dr Jon Harrington for further information