GER Research Group


Ref CTM2011-28437-C02-01
Title Leakage effects of CO2 stored in marine geologic formations: kinetic mobility and toxicity of metals in marine sediments
Period 01/2012-12/2014
Program National R&D&I Plan 2008-2011


The main objective of the research of this coordinated project is to generate new knowledge about the potential effects of CO2-acidified seawater leakages on marine sediments from sub-seabed CCS systems by means of the analysis, modeling and assessment of the kinetic mobility of metals, as well as the kinetic toxicity due to the acidification and mobility of metals, in marine sediments above the formation.


Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. National R&D&I Plan 2008-2011. Project Ref.: CTM 2011-28437-C02-01. Coordinated ProjectUniversity of Cadiz (UCA) and University of Cantabria (UC).Period: 2012-2014.
Other Researchers: Camino Martin, Mari Cruz Payan, Carlo Vandecasteele.


There exists an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for atmospheric CO2 stabilization in order to mitigate climate change. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in geological formations is one of the global warming mitigation strategies proposed at planetary level. CCS processes consist of capturing flue gas CO2, transporting and injecting it into geological formations. Sub-seabed geological formations and specially storage in deep saline aquifers appears to hold the most promise sequestration method.

CCS technology needs to be scaled up to fully integrated commercial scale to assess their sustainability. In this context, local demonstration is important in order to maximize public and political support. As a result of the increasing number of ongoing projects, the International conventions and the European Directive on the geological storage of CO2, regulate his injection to guarantee that CCS is an available mitigation option. Although CO2 is injected into the lower part of the storage formation, there are several potential mechanism of CO2 leakage to the near-surface environment. The dissolution of CO2 into a fluid phase, directly in the saline aquifer of storage (aqueous brines) or during the CO2 gas leakage at short or long distances (native pore water, groundwater or seawater) generates acidic CO2 rich fluids that can leaks in the same way that CO2 gas and would be in contact with different formation layers including recent contaminated sediments.


We propose the performance of batteries of dynamic, equilibrium and pH dependent leaching tests of sediments in contact with CO2-acidified seawater in combination with a battery of toxicity bioassays. The results will contribute in the risk management step to design a Tier testing for the development of a decision-making framework of CCS sites. The integration of mobility and bioaccumulation results obtained in previous projects, together the expected results on the mobility and toxicity kinetics, will contributes to establish the risks associated to CCS, ecoefficiency of the technology, as well as criteria to feed making-decision tools.

Representative publications

Alvarez-Guerra,M.,Canis, L.,Voulvoulis,N.,Viguri,JR.,Linkov,I., 2010, Prioritization of sediment management alternatives using stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis. Sci Total Environ, 408, 4354-4367.

Payán,M.C.,Verbinnen,B.,Galan,B.,Coz,A.,Vandecasteele,C.,Viguri, J.R.,2012. Potential influence of CO2 release from a carbon capture storage site on release of trace metals from marine sediment.EnvironPollut 162, 29-39.

For more information contac

University of Cantabria. Chemical Engineering Dpt. Avd, los Castros, s/n. 39005 Santander, Spain. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Phone: +34-942-201589