The CO2MARINE work plan is divided into four work packages (WPs), each is led by a renowned scientist. The work packages WP1–WP3 are directly related to the scientific core of the proposal and include all field works, laboratory experiments and numerical modelling. The project focuses on geochemical processes in surface sediments and overlying-bottom water, and biological impacts above the potential CO2-storage site in the Baltic Sea.
WP1 studies chemical transformations induced by increased CO2 level at the relevant hydrostatic pressure, including organic matter formation and decay, reduction and oxidation of nitrogen, sulphur, manganese, iron, and transformation of phosphorus, silicate and carbon species. Particular emphasis is be put on the emissions of trace and heavy elements and organic compounds into the water column and chemical reactions in carbonate system under low-pH conditions in the sedimentary overburden. On the basis of laboratory experiments in the hyperbaric TiTank, WP1 will thus provide qualitative and quantitative experimental data on transformation of different chemical species and elemental remobilization as well as on their dispersion in sediments and water which will support further WP2. Work package 1 will also define chemical indicators of CO2 leakage from the sub-seabed CO2 reservoirs to the marine environment above a storage site.
WP2 develops numerical models to predict distribution and fluxes of different chemical species and trace and heavy metals across the sediment-seawater interface for different CO2 levels, using 1-dimensional vertical transport-reaction model. In addition, WP2 will define pH gradients, carbonate system parameters and metal concentrations of surface sediments as boundary parameters for WP3.
WP3 determines the biological impacts and risks associated with CO2 leakage and define appropriate biomarkers for detection of increased CO2 level on a sea floor due to potential leakage. Biological impacts are studied at different levels of biological organisation going from cells and tissues to individuals, species and communities and biological functions such as behaviour, health, physiological and enzymatic activities. By analysing a range of possible biological responses of different sensitivity to acute CO2 exposure, from biochemical reactions through behavioural modifications to changes in community structure, fast and effective markers (specific fingerprints of CO2 impact) will be detected for biomonitoring of benthic marine environment at risk of leakage accident from sub-seabed CO2 reservoirs. The biological research within WP3 address the broadest scope of planned laboratory experiments and thus involves most human resources, efforts and costs.
WP4 provides data and project management as a service to the CO2MARINE consortium. WP4 cooperates with other WPs to monitor progress of the project realisation, timely delivery of project deliverables and outcomes and to set up mechanisms for dispute resolution. WP4 has established and manages the project website to disseminate project results and to inform the general public.
The work plan of the proposal has been set out to ensure the logical phases of the implementation of the project. However, in order to avoid delays in generation of experimental data among different WPs, several activities will be taken simultaneously, engaging periodically many resources.