A Storage Mission Down Under!

Written by Alexandra Maskell, PhD student in Carbon Storage, University of Cambridge

Before getting this blog underway a huge thank you must go to the UKCCSRC for providing this amazing opportunity through its ECR International Exchange Fund.

I must also thank Jonathan Ennis-King, Lincoln Paterson and all those I met from the Earth Science and Resource Engineering Group at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Melbourne for taking time out of their busy schedules and making my stay so enjoyable.

13 to 14 November: CSIRO, Melbourne

After the ‘standard’ 24 hours of travel one must endure when travelling to the other side of the Earth, I arrived into Melbourne on the 5th of November. It was safe to say I brought the English weather with me... according to locals a drop in temperature and rain clouds signified my arrival.

Undeterred, it was off to CSIRO to meet with Jonathan Ennis-King, after the formalities of building inductions and arranging an access card, I was introduced to the Earth Science and Resource Engineering group. Rather jetlagged, the work day finished early and it was off to bed to regain lost sleep.

For the next few days, I familiarised myself with the reservoir modelling package TOUGHREACT and investigated in more detail what question I wanted to answer. By the end of my time at CSIRO, I had done several models for the Green River CO2 accumulation and most importantly had identified areas where more work needs to be done.

15 – 22 November: UKCCS Mission to Australia

It was back to the airport on the 15th, no not for flying, but to meet the UK contingent: Mike Edwards (UKCCSRC), Doug Angus (University of Leeds), Stuart Gilfillan (University of Edinburgh), Sam Krevor (Imperial College London), Gillian Pickup (Heriot-Watt University) and Ceri Vincent (British Geological Survey), who came out to scope potential collaborations specifically for Horizon 2020 (H2020), the EU framework programme for research and innovation. Only one more UK representative was yet to arrive, Trever Drage (former University of Nottingham), who was going to meet us in Hobart for the CO2CRC Symposium (more on this below).

CO2CRC had organised a 2-day site visit to the Otway Carbon Storage Site so that we could better understand the layout, meet with the main team in charge, and start to lay the groundwork for collaborative ideas/areas not solely for H2020.

Picking up two hire cars from Melbourne Airport we drove the picturesque coastal route along The Great Ocean Road down to Port Campbell, the nearest town to the Otway Site.

The tour around the Otway site was fantastic. It was an amazing opportunity not only visiting the site itself, but being involved with discussions about the site setup and the possibilities and limitations of future collaborative efforts.

Following the site visit it was back up The Great Ocean Road for a weekend in Melbourne before flying over the Tasman Straight to Hobart for the Annual CO2CRC Symposium. This predominately Australian conference showcased innovations and advancements in knowledge from both storage and capture. It was the perfect location for the UKCCSRC contingent; many discussions were had with those at the forefront of their research field in Australia, both on H2020 opportunities and individual research collaborations. At the end of the conference there was a unanimous agreement from all involved that the UKCCSRC mission to Australia had been successful!

From my perspective, being involved in the grass roots discussions of what will hopefully be a large and long standing collaboration was a fantastic experience and I cannot thank the UKCCSRC enough for the opportunity. Another great outcome from this visit is a return visit! I have been invited back to the University of Melbourne and CSIRO by Ralf Haese, Jonathan Ennis-King and Tara LaForce for three months to continue the numerical modelling of the Green River CO2 accumulation I started there.

23 November – 1 December: Perth

After a hugely successful three weeks on the east coast of Australia, it was off to the west for a much quieter week. Finally enjoying the sunshine, I finished up the numerical modelling from my first week in Melbourne and formulated a plan of attack for my return visit.

Author(s): 
A. Maskell
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