Project Technical Description & Implementation

The project builds on 9 Work Packages, WPs, each with specific objectives and planned deliverables. The research plan is summarised in the figure.

WP1 is charged with the management of the project. Management activities include, but are not limited to liaising with the European Commission, administer the grant, assemble, prepare and submit reports and deliverables, request amendments to the Consortium Agreement when necessary, monitor the development of the program, quantify gender balance and suggest approaches to achieve equal representation of both males and females in the project, provide recommendations on IP issues, and resolve eventual disputes. WP1 will set up and maintain the S4CE website, prepare a logo for the consortium, and set up tools to facilitate the communication between S4CE partners and the various advisory boards.

WP2 will provide ethical oversight. Ethical issues could be due to the possible dual use and misuse of the research activities conducted within the consortium, but also on the sensational interpretation of the research results, which should be avoided to maintain a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders.

WP3 will develop tools and technologies. The R&D activities within this WP include: develop further the Core Vault technology to extract rock samples from the field sites, develop further the PUSH 50 technology to extract fluid samples from the field sites, develop further the electrical imaging technique to characterize flow pathways in cements, develop further laser isotope radiometers to measure CO2 emissions in situ, develop further laser dispersion spectrometers for large-area mapping of CO2 and hydrocarbon emissions, develop spectroscopy-based technologies to differentiate biogenic vs. thermogenic gases, develop the technology to transport and characterize rock and fluid samples at formation pressure and temperature conditions, develop further DNA-based tracers to monitor sub-surface geo-energy operations.

WP4 will characterize rock and fluid samples obtained from the field sites. The samples retrieved from the field sites will be tested with existing cutting edge technologies. In some cases, S4CE partners will develop new characterization procedures. These activities will start from the sub-surface formation length scale with a throughout documentation of the field sites of interest, to macroscopic measurements for gases adsorption on rock samples that will be useful to assess the hydrocarbon in place in various formations as well as the ability of some formations to store CO2, from the assessment of microbial growth at sub-surface conditions to the attempt to isolate and characterize key metabolic micro-organisms present in the S4CE field sites, from pore-level characterisation of the rock samples to the mapping of hydrogeological models for groundwater circulation on the field sites.

WP5 will ensure that models are developed to quantify fluid transport through various media. The models of interest to S4CE include those suitable to describe fluid migration in porous media present in the sub-surface, models for describing quantitatively the CO2 carbonation in basaltic minerals, the processes responsible for fluid transport through cements and for the failure of cements, as well as the large scale fluid transport in the sub-surface with the related possible induced seismicity. The models developed will also include a tool for the life cycle assessment of the environmental impact of sub-surface geo-energy operations, as well as a tool to quantify the risks associated with sub-surface geo-energy operations.

WP6 will screen new technologies to identify those ready for field implementation. Of interest are technologies to assess and monitor the integrity of wells; ‘sensing skins’ to monitor the reliability of cements, DNA-based tracers to fingerprint sub-surface fluids, spectroscopic instruments to monitor and quantify gaseous leaks, and models to interpret seismic data to assess fluid transport in the sub-surface.

WP7 will ensure that the 4 field sites are instrumented with the new technologies tested in WP6 seamlessly with existing infrastructure and will provide samples from the field sites to S4CE partners. The activities planned include monitoring water quality, monitor fluid transport, quantifying gaseous emissions, demonstrating some of the new technologies (e.g., sensing skins), quantifying induced seismicity, monitoring CO2 plumes in the sub-surface, and assessing the integrity of well casings.

WP8 will interact with international collaborators, in particular from North America, to exchange best-practice approaches. This WP will establish the External Scientific Advisory Board, will identify processes to enable student exchanges between S4CE and North American collaborators, will identify best practice procedures for sub-surface operations, prepare work-flows to be implemented in case of emergency response in sub-surface geo-energy operations, identify protocols for the remediation of groundwater contamination.

WP9 is in charge of disseminating the results of the R&D program enabled by S4CE, exploit the technological advancements, and further promote innovation in sub-surface geo-energy applications. This WP is in charge of coordinate the training of students and post-doctoral researchers involved in the project, coordinate out-reach events, plan and coordinate ‘Work-In-Progress Forums’ and ‘Geo-Energy Information-Sharing Meetings’, encourage and monitor the timely publication of the research results in Open Access peer-reviewed journals, promote the exploitation of the results, and maintain a database to share the scientific data among the S4CE partners, and, when possible, with the public.