No doubt the trip to the British Geological Survey (BGS) on Wednesday 18th February was the best bit of this amazing Winter School (I’m sure everyone else will agree about that)!
When we set off from the National College weather was quite good outside, except for the freezing wind. When we arrived at the BGS, Andy Chadwick and his team gave us a very warm welcome. Then, we were sorted into groups before starting a proper tour of the premises.
Just to get into the mood, we realized how geology can be so fun!
Afterwards things became a bit more serious but quite interesting.
During our tour, we visited the following labs:
- Lab 1 (Microbiology): Study of microbe growth on rock samples to monitor CO2 leakage;
- Lab 2: Measurement of rock permeability and assessment of interactions with CO2;
- Lab 3 (Hydrothermal): Batch and flowing system experiments carried out under pressure and temperature conditions representative of the CO2 injection site. The main aim of these tests is again to evaluate the interaction between CO2 and rock (e.g. carbonation).
Besides the great load of experimental work, 3D modelling is another area of expertise at the BGS. We
were shown a real time simulation of CO2 flow after injection into the ground.
However, the core store was the place I liked the most. I was astonished by the huge number of onshore/offshore rock samples they have got over there – ca. 1 million!!
Overall, we had the chance to talk to different specialists who showed and explained to us many useful things about CO2 storage and monitoring. They really know what they are doing!
After leaving the BGS, on the way back to the hotel we called by the Nottingham sandstone near the castle. This geological formation is very similar to that found in possible CO2 storage sites underneath the North Sea. Definitely an attraction worth checking it out when visiting Nottingham.