Bringing lights, camera and action to Carbon Capture & Storage... by Gemma Purser

At the beginning of December a group of MSc students from the University of Nottingham descended upon the BGS Keyworth site armed with cameras, lenses and all manner of technical gizmos to undertake some filming of the CO2 Storage (CCS) team. Gemma Purser, Analytical Geochemist, recounts their adventures on film...

This collaboration, set up between the British Geological Survey and University of Nottingham, was an opportunity for BGS scientists unfamiliar with talking in front of a camera to face their fears and develop their presenting skills. For the students this was the first time they had worked within their small production teams. Their brief was to produce a 10 minute film documentary on a science topic, a key requirement of their MSc course in biological imaging.

Timelapse recording at Keyworth reception
The students were on site for a week, initially chatting to their allocated scientists to develop a filming schedule and to assess possible locations for filming. The subsequent days saw a frenzy of filming with some very imaginative and modern filming techniques. Our very own BGS photographer, Paul Whitney, was on hand to give hints and tips to both students and scientists alongside the course director, David McMahon and course tutor, Steven Galloway.

Five scientists within the CCS team took part (including myself after some initial reluctance), each giving an overview of CCS before answering more specific questions relating to their particular area of expertise.
Chris Rochelle, who was one of the original members of a founding CCS project, Joule II, which was undertaken here at BGS about 22 years ago, gave an overview of CCS. He also discussed what the future may hold for CCS whilst still managing to throw in a few fun and visual examples of science for which he has become somewhat famous.

Group photo courtesy of David McMahon 

Michelle Bentham addressed the question of how much CO2 can be stored and where. Michelle has recently completed a project (CO2 Stored) with the Crown Estate and Energy Technologies Institute to assess the location and storage capacity of potential offshore CO2 reservoirs around the UK.
Dave Jones and Sarah Hannis gave the students a double bill of knowledge relating to the importance and assessment of wellbore integrity and how we can demonstrate the safety and permanent containment of storage of CO2 through the use of various monitoring techniques. Dave and Sarah have experience of monitoring both natural and experimental situations during which CO2 gas has been injected and/or released.

As a scientist working within the fluid processes research laboratories, I got the opportunity to talk about the processes that a molecule of CO2 gas, that would ordinarily be released to the atmosphere, has to go through in order to be stored as a solid mineral at depths greater than 800m below the earth’s surface.

Filming in the Core Store at Keyworth
I think the film week was a success for many reasons. It gave BGS staff the chance to develop their ability to explain the important science around carbon capture and storage to the Nottingham students and also the wider public through the films eventual release onto the BGS website. It provided an opportunity for the students to work in a real life situation based on a client brief with ‘on location’ filming. Based on the success of this year we are already in discussions as how best to continue and improve the experience for next year’s MSc course. So if any other teams out there fancy having a go in front of the camera then keep your eyes peeled for future requests for scientists or you can drop me an email for more information.

Finally a big thank-you to all of the people who took part but especially Nichola Gaffney and Lauren Noakes who made sure everything ran to the plan and to Jonathan Pearce, CCS team leader, who along with Clive Mitchell, communications manager, funded the staff time to allow it to happen, which was much appreciated.

Gemma Purser