The British Geological Survey (BGS) has confirmed the Ince Marshes in North Cheshire as the preferred location for its second “observatory for the underground”.
The Cheshire site will be used alongside the planned Glasgow development to provide important research evidence on natural resources for heat and energy and is part of the £31M UK Geoenergy Observatory project.
According to the BGS, the sites will underpin the development of energy technologies and advance our understanding of the underground environment.
The BGS hopes that the Cheshire site will “attract world-leading geologists, engineers and other scientists to undertake energy-related research”. The research is expected advance understanding of the technologies and science needed for carbon storage, energy storage, underground storage of waste material and shale gas.
BGS executive director John Ludden said: “Ince Marshes provides researchers with a complex geological environment that enables them to examine the way that different rock types behave at a range of different depths. Ince Marshes also has the combination of natural environmental change from the estuary and impact from major infrastructure, industry and population centres. It is also located at the very heart of Cheshire’s Energy Hub - with the wind farm, refinery, energy research centre, mixed-use energy development and the hydrogen cluster as neighbours.
“North Cheshire is also under an onshore oil and gas licence, with operators actively exploring the area. The UK Geoenergy Observatories will build on Cheshire’s standing as an energy hub and strengthen this corridor of scientific activity, which stretches from the Jodrell Bank Observatory in the east, through the Daresbury Laboratory, to our research site, which would draw in some of the best scientists and engineers in the world.
“We need the subsurface environment to develop a mix of low-carbon energy technologies at the required scale - whether that’s for carbon storage, energy storage, geothermal energy, hydrogen production or lower-carbon energy sources. It is vital that we build the best-possible geological evidence base to be able to optimise the process without an adverse impact on the environment.
“This investment will provide industry, academia, regulators, government and the public with the tools to break new boundaries in energy science, develop better low-carbon solutions and take care of the environment. Providing the very best evidence base on the UK’s geology has been the British Geological Survey’s role for the last 180 years. It continues to be our primary objective.”