NERC to scope subsurface CO2 storage laboratory

Cooling towers at a coal fueled power station

To meet the UK’s net zero ambitions, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has commissioned a scoping study to develop UK investment options in a globally unique underground CO2 storage research laboratory.

Carbon capture and storage is “a necessity, not an option, in meeting net-zero” according to the UK Committee on Climate Change. However, improvements in our understanding of storage processes are required to support widespread industrial scale adoption of the technology within the UK.

The UK government’s Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) action plan recognises “the importance of continuing to build the evidence base” through the UK’s world-leading academic research with “a specific focus on areas that can support cost reductions, deployment and UK leadership”.

In response to this, NERC is developing the case for investment in a purpose-designed national facility to investigate subsurface CO2 storage processes. To gather the necessary evidence, NERC has commissioned the British Geological Survey (BGS) to undertake a scoping study that will assess the case for an investment by:

  • engaging widely with stakeholders to fully understand requirements
  • reviewing the existing national and international capability
  • proposing a science plan and a design for a future facility.

BGS is the preferred partner for this scoping project as one of NERC’s strategic partners and has a proven track record in delivering high value geological research infrastructure and CCUS projects.

Dr Iain Williams, Director of Strategic Partnerships at NERC, said:

Understanding the science behind the long-term viability of subsurface CO2 storage is a key challenge for achieving the UK’s climate change targets. This project will bring together the research community to understand what research and associated infrastructure is necessary to realise the potential for subsurface CO2 storage in the UK and accelerate its implementation.

Professor Mike Stephenson, Executive Chief Scientist at BGS, said:

BGS is delighted to be working with NERC to evaluate the potential benefits of a new CO2 storage research facility for the UK. We see this study as a fantastic opportunity to help the wider CCUS community to work together, to develop a concept for the testbed that will enable innovation and deeper understanding of storage processes.

Further information

 For further information, please see the BGS website or contact Oliver Knevitt via

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