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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-45
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-45
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Apr 2019

Research article | 02 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Uncertainty in regional estimates of capacity for carbon capture and storage

Mark Wilkinson and Debbie Polson Mark Wilkinson and Debbie Polson
  • School of GeoSciences, Grant Institute, James Hutton Road, The King's Buildings, The University of Edinburgh, EH9 3FE

Abstract. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a potentially important technology for the mitigation of industrial CO2 emissions, however the majority of the subsurface storage capacity is in geological strata for which there is relatively little information, the so-called saline aquifers. Published estimates of the potential storage capacity of such formations, based on limited data, often give no indication of the uncertainty, despite there being substantial uncertainty associated with the data used to calculate such estimates. Using only publicly available data, a group of experts independently estimated the storage capacity of 7 regional saline aquifers. The experts produced a wide range of estimates for each aquifer due a combination of using different published values for some variables and differences in their judgements of the aquifer properties such as area and thickness. The range of storage estimates produced by the experts shows that there is significant uncertainty in such estimates, in particular the experts' range does not capture the highest possible capacity estimates, meaning that by not accounting for uncertainty, such regional estimates may underestimate the true storage capacity. The result is applicable to single values of storage capacity of regional potential, but not to detailed studies of a single storage site.

Mark Wilkinson and Debbie Polson
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Status: open (until 12 Jun 2019)
Status: open (until 12 Jun 2019)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Mark Wilkinson and Debbie Polson
Mark Wilkinson and Debbie Polson
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Short summary
Carbon capture and storage is a technology for the mitigation of industrial CO2 emissions. Most subsurface storage capacity is in rocks for which there is relatively little information. A group of experts estimated the storage capacity of 7 units, producing a wide range of estimates for each unit due to a combination of using different published values for some variables and differences in their judgements of average values. Hence, there is significant uncertainty in such estimates.
Carbon capture and storage is a technology for the mitigation of industrial CO2 emissions. Most...
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