Scientists from Edinburgh University have formed a partnership with Chinese scientists to develop large scale carbon capture technologies that store emissions in rocks underneath Quangdong in China.
The team have studied the geology of the rocks below the Pearl River Mouth basin, China’s third longest river that empties into the South China Sea, to find out its suitability as a site for carbon storage, as part of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
Edinburgh University said: “The area has vast capacity for storing CO2 but a limited ability to provide a long-term mechanism to seal the gas into the rocks.
“Researchers suggest that a concept known as dispersion trapping could support long-term storage by securing the injected CO2 within the site’s geology. Such a development could pave the way to tackling the region’s significant carbon emissions.”
The work, conducted in partnership with Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS), has the potential to provide decades of CO2 storage offshore for projects, such as Haifeng full-chain offshore Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) project.
Experts believe CCS could be pivotal role in helping countries achieving their global commitments to reducing carbon emissions.
Dr Niklas Heinnemann of Edinburgh University’s School of GeoSciences said: “The Pearl River Mouth Basin reservoirs have excellent storage potential but we need to ensure that they provide long-term containment of CO2.”
Meanwhile, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, also of the School of GeoSciences said: “We’ve suggested an alternative method of developing this resource into secure stores using dispersion trapping. It’s a bit like having a damp sponge of CO2 spread throughout the rock. None of the CO2 can escape, even though there is no single seal.
“All the pore space can be used if injection is planned differently to disperse CO2 widely at many levels within the geology. This is like creating direct entrances into several floors of a residential tower block, rather than just using one floor. The work is applicable to many reservoirs in China, and globally.”