Investigating the dangers of carbon capture
Researchers are due to begin a month-long experiment that will investigate the impact of a carbon dioxide leak on the seabed. The experiment, which will take place in Scottish waters and commence Wednesday May 23, predicts that a release of CO2 will change the acidity of the seawater in the immediate area and is based on studies in places where natural releases of CO2, from underwater volcanoes.
It is thought that the release can substantially change the ecosystem.
Carbon capture and storage (CSS) sites exist to capture the CO2 emissions from power stations and bury them underneath the seabed. Although a number of countries have plants in operation, no test has been conducted as yet to investigate the impact that a leak in the system would have, environmentally.
So how will the experiment work? In Ardmucknish Bay near Oban, researchers will be allowing CO2 to bubble through sediments from a buried pipe. They will then attempt to find how this will effect marine life in the surrounding area.
“We want to study what happens if there is a leak from a CCS reservoir- or more likely, from a fault in a pipe or at the injection site,” said Henrik Stahl from the Scottish Marine Institute in Oban, who is in charge of the project.
He also told the BBC, “We’ll study how this affects the ecosystem, the animals and microbes living in the sediments, and how the CO2 transforms in its passage through the upper layers of the sediment.”
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