Flexible Funding 2021: Dr Anna Lichtschlag, National Oceanography Centre

Sensor Enabled Seabed Landing AUV nodes for improved offshore Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) monitoring


Key facts about this Flexible Funding research project

Institution: National Oceanography Centre
Department: Science and Technology
Start date: 1st July 2021
Principal investigator: Dr Anna Lichtschlag, National Oceanography Centre
Co-Investigators: Dr Allison Schaap and Mr Christopher Cardwell, National Oceanography Centre
Amount awarded by UKCCSRC: £29,355

Why is this research needed?

Offshore storage of carbon dioxide in geological reservoirs, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers, has been identified as an important way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and could be a key contributor to keeping the climate change derived temperature increase below the 2 degrees celsius target. A key element of offshore CCS is integrity assurance, which requires confidence that any leakage of the carbon dioxide into the marine environment (either from the storage reservoir or from pipelines) could be reliably detected.

What is this research investigating?

Experimental studies have shown that detection of a carbon dioxide leakage from the seafloor can be done with sensors mounted on either autonomous underwater vehicles (which can be expensive) or on fixed installations (which requires many installations to achieve broad spatial coverage). Recent technological developments have led to a low-cost hybrid system which combines autonomous underwater vehicles and fixed installations technology, so called ‘flying nodes’. These flying nodes can remain on the seafloor for up to a year and, even more important, they are designed to work in a swarm of up to 3000 vehicles, hence can survey a large area in significantly less time than the traditional underwater vehicles. This project aims to show that the integration of chemical sensors and flying nodes is feasible and beneficial.

What does the research hope to achieve?

In this project, the research team will define the technical and mechanical requirements for the integration, perform first hardware integration tests, and perform a model exercise to specify the appropriate number and spacing of vehicles under different carbon dioxide monitoring scenarios. Longer term, the newly developed monitoring technology that will be created by integrating long-term stable chemical sensors (produced at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) with flying nodes (designed and manufactured by Autonomous Robotics Ltd) can provide a reliable and cost-efficient offshore CCS monitoring technology.

Research outputs

This research is complete and updates will be shared as they become available.


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