Novel techniques for seabed monitoring of CO2 leakage and monitoring campaigns based on reservoir, cap rock and overburden migration models
2014 – 2016
Prokaryotic communities rapidly respond to changes in the environment by altered abundances, changed community composition as well as shifted metabolic potential. These unique properties are exploited in COVERALL, which aims to develop and verify high resolution gene-based monitoring techniques for CO2 leakage based on molecular signatures of prokaryotic communities. The project uses data from a combination of temporal and spatial gradients of in-situ and ex-situ CO2 release experiments of marine sediments, simulating leakages from sub seafloor CO2 storage sites. High throughput amplicon sequence (16S rRNA) and metagenomic data as well as a developed bioinformatic gene finder workflow are utilized to detect the CO2 anomaly signatures from the prokaryotic communities, which allows for detection of CO2 leakages at a very early stage. In addition, the project aims to develop three conceptual reservoir and overburden leakage models to estimate the possible CO2 flux entering the seafloor. So far, samples have been collected and processed from the in-situ and the ex-situ release experiments, and metagenomic/16S rRNA has been sequenced and is currently being analyzed. The researcher employed on the project, Unni Vik, has worked closely together with the researchers at SAMS (UK) on experimental design, collection of samples and performed the molecular methods. The 16S rRNA analyses has been performed on the Abel supercomputer cluster at UiO. The metagenomic analyses has been performed on a newly established bioinformatics platform, specifically developed for this project. An opinion paper on using prokaryotes for CO2 monitoring and CCU was published in Trends In Biotechnology (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tibtech.2016.06.011). The COVERALL consortium met in Greece in early December 2015, and have had contact on a regular basis via mail and skype.