Tour of CO2SINK, a European research pilot project in Ketzin

In April 2010, Michel Malo, Bernard Giroux and Maxime Claprood visited CO2SINK, a European research pilot project located in Ketzin (70 km from Berlin, Germany). The Ketzin research project focuses on the scientific observation and analysis of the effects of injecting CO2 into a reservoir, including the stability and integrity of the reservoir. To do this, intensive monitoring systems have been implemented at the Ketzin site.

The project facilities are located above a reservoir that was formerly used for storing natural gas. The CO2 is injected into a deeper separate reservoir (a saline aquifer), hydraulically isolated from the shallower reservoir.

The project is coordinated by GFZ, the German geoscience research centre. As part of a consortium, several research institutions, universities and industries from different countries take part in the project. In addition, the IEA also participates in the project.

The project is funded by the European Commission, the German federal ministry of economics and technology, the German federal ministry of education and research, and many industries.

The project began in April 2004, and the injection of CO2 began in June 2008. By July 2010, nearly 37,000 tonnes of CO2 had been injected into the saline aquifer. The goal is to inject up to 60,000 tonnes of CO2.

Given the small amount of CO2 being injected, CO2 can be transported to the injection site by trucks. It is temporarily stored in external tanks (that act as a kind of buffer) before being injected into the geological reservoir where it is stored.

The site consists of two external tanks of CO2, a CO2 conditioning system, equipment to monitor the injection parameters and the injected CO2, three wells (one injection well and two monitoring wells), and a seismic monitoring system.

An operator in the on-site control centre constantly oversees the injection of CO2 (gas parameters are displayed in real time on monitors), and also monitors and maintains the site. The control centre also has a small conference room where visiting groups can learn more about the project and CO2 storage.

The following pictures show the facilities and the small amount of space required by the infrastructure for a pilot project investigating the geological storage of CO2.

*Dr Stefan Lüth is a geophysicist at GFZ.