Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Project

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Overview

The Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Project was established in 2009 as part of Geoscience Australia's Carbon Capture and Storage Program. The primary aim for the project is to assess monitoring techniques for geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) and collect regional atmospheric and groundwater baseline data in selected onshore areas. The work assists government and industry to determine best practice in this emerging field.

Monitoring the effectiveness of geological storage of CO2 is a challenging task because CO2 is present naturally in the atmosphere, soil, ocean and groundwater. Geoscience Australia is investigating techniques that can accurately differentiate small changes to background concentrations that could indicate a leak. Of particular interest is the application of isotopic techniques for atmospheric and groundwater monitoring (including dissolved gases) to resolve different greenhouse gas sources.

Activities

The main activity for the Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Project are:

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Controlled Release Studies - operation of a joint Geoscience Australia CO2CRC facility to conduct shallow sub-surface and above surface releases of greenhouse gases to test soil and atmospheric monitoring and quantification techniques.
 

Achievements to date

  • Installation of an atmospheric greenhouse gas baseline station in central Queensland (joint CSIRO-Geoscience Australia facility). This station continuously monitors CO2, methane (CH4) and carbon-12 and carbon-13 isotopes of CO2
  • installation of an eddy covariance CO2 and CH4 flux tower in central Queensland (joint Geoscience Australia-CSIRO facility)
  • installation of a greenhouse gas controlled release facility at the CSIRO Plant Industry Ginninderra Experiment Station (joint CO2CRC-Geoscience Australia facility)
  • hosted an atmospheric release experiment at the controlled release facility (2010)
  • hosted a sub-surface release experiment at the controlled release facility (2012) 
  • hydrogeochemical maps of the Great Artesian Basin by formation unit
  • joint Geoscience Australia-Geological Survey of Queensland groundwater surveys that have produced a new comprehensive groundwater data set for the Bowen and Surat basins (eight surveys completed in total)
  • a quality controlled hydrogeochemical dataset compiled from well completion reports.