Detecting and mapping a CO2 plume with novel autonomous pH sensors on an underwater vehicle

Samuel A. Monk*, Allison Schaap, Rudolf Hanz, Sergey M. Borisov, Socratis Loucaides, Martin Arundell, Stathys Papadimitriou, John Walk, Daisy Tong, James Wyatt, Matthew Mowlem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the first successful use of chemical sensors integrated on to an underwater vehicle to locate, map and estimate flux from a controlled sub-seabed CO2 release, analogous to a leak from a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) reservoir. This has global implications for the efficacy and cost of monitoring of offshore CCS sites and hence public and regulatory confidence as this tool for addressing climate change is considered and rolled out. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with three different pH sensors was deployed to determine the spatial extent of the controlled release. The sensors each operated on a different principle (spectrophotometric, fluorescence, and electrochemical) and the strengths and weaknesses of each sensor are discussed. The sensor data demonstrated that evidence of the plume was limited to within 3 m of the seafloor, as predicted by previous modelling work. The data were then utilised to develop a model of the plume, to extend the spatial coverage of the data. This comparison of the three sensors and the insight into plume dynamics provided by the model would assist in the planning of future plume surveys to ensure the sensor and vehicle combination can resolve the plume of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103477
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Autonomous platforms
  • Chemical plume
  • CO reservoir monitoring
  • Marine
  • pH sensors
  • Vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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