Although significant leakage from CO2 storage sites is not expected, if it did occur there could be adverse environmental consequences, which are not well constrained. The objective of RISCS is to provide fundamental research on environmental impacts, necessary to underpin frameworks for the safe management of CO2 storage sites. To achieve this, RISCS will quantitatively assess environmental impacts from exposure to known CO2 fluxes. The assessments will be based on field laboratory experiments, measurements at natural leakage sites and numerical simulations, for both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
This will provide new constraints on the impacts of CO2 leakage on humans and onshore and offshore ecosystems. RISCS will provide the underpinning information necessary to:
– Rigorously evaluate the safety of different storage sites
– Carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) over different timescales
– Design storage sites to minimise hazards
– Help to design near surface monitoring strategies
– Refine storage licence applications and conditions
– Develop a framework to communicate the safety of storage to key stakeholders
This approach will meet the requirements of OSPAR and the EC Directive both in ensuring environmental protection and the planning of near surface monitoring programmes.
The US EPA has recently published rules for CO2 storage, and a Vulnerability Evaluation Framework for geological sequestration of CO2. RISCS will build on this approach, creating a similar framework addressing European needs. In order to meet these objectives we have assembled a team with very specific and focussed expertise, enabling us to assess both northern and southern European impacts scenarios, onshore and offshore. To maintain a full external perspective on the research, from both scientific and public acceptance viewpoints, we have enlisted leading CCS experts from CSLF partner countries, two NGOs, the IEA GHG programme and industry.