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ONEPlanet DTP - Soil biological and chemical responses to fugitive gas from carbon capture transport infrastructures (OP2176)

Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

Monday, January 18, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Carbon Capture Storage & Utilisation (CCUS) is one way of preventing CO2emissions from anthropogenic industrial activitiesreaching the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. In CCUS, CO2is captured from a large point source and transported to either permanent storage in a geological formation or utilised for other purposes. The CO2is transported across land in buried high pressure carbon steel pipelines, which in their lifetime may develop small leaks causing missions into the surrounding environment. The flux from leaking pipelines transporting CO2will pollute surrounding environments and can change, e.g. the concentration of CO2in soils, water bodies and the atmosphere, leading to potential impacts on plants, animals, macrofauna and microorganisms. Furthermore, impurities such as hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide and methane can also be present in the transportation mixture. There is relatively little historical failure data for CO2transport systems; it is therefore imperative to understand the behaviour of leaksfrom pipelinesfor a complete environmental impact assessment. This PhD studentship willinvestigateCO2leakage into soilsand theresponse ofsoil physicochemical characteristics, mineralogy, macrofauna, and microbiology. It is predicted that soil redox processes from CO2leakage will likely be affected due to changes in redox zones in the vicinity of the leak and likewise pH.Eh (redox) and pHwill be monitored in soils in parallel with investigating the microbial communities. Coupling geochemical and microbiological processes haspreviously used to successfully investigate he transformation of organic matter in marine sediments1anduranium transport in radionuclide-contaminated soils2.Alterations in pHfrom CO2leakagemay also have an impacton soil mineralogy e.g.enhancingcalcite precipitationand hence soil carbon capture. Consequently,changes in mineralogy and/or redox zoneswill alsohave consequences on the soil macrofaunawhich will be investigated.Key references:1Stevenson et al., 2020. Philos T Roy Soc A, 378 (2181). 2Fulleret al., 2020. Chemosphere, 254, 126859.

Funding Notes

Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home), an annual living allowance (£15,285) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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