Advances in the environmental sciences continue to be made by Canadians on such topics as CO2 emissions reduction, solar technologies, and water investigations. These topics are the focus of this month’s RECORDER.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) captures CO2 from industrial sources and injects it into sites deep underground for safe, long-term storage. The first CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects were started in the 1970s, and there are now about 15 active, commercial scale CO2 EOR projects operating worldwide. (Ref: Alberta Energy website, http://www.energy.alberta.ca/CCS/3839.asp and http://www.energy.alberta.ca/CCS/3817.asp).

The article, “Using a Walk-away DAS Time-lapse VSP for CO2 Plume Monitoring at the Quest CCS Project”, by Vincent Oropeza Bacci, Simon O’Brien, Jordan Frank, and Mark Anderson of Shell Canada, is about CO2 stratification related to the Scotford upgrader. The authors stress the importance of DAS VSP monitoring technology along the path to making CCS economically viable.

Solar Technology

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy is growing quickly in Canada. Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY conducts PV research and development activities that facilitate the deployment of this technology throughout Canada. (Ref: Natural Resources Canada website, http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/renewables/solar-photovoltaic/7303 and http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/canmetenergy/pdf/2016-019_RP-ANU_411-PVNORD_Dignard_Poissant_e%20WEB.pdf)

In her article, “Techno-economic Assessment of Solar Technologies in Canadian Housing Stock”, Sara Nikoofard of Stantec makes the important point that using PV in Alberta will have the most impact, compared to other solar technologies, on reducing GHG emissions in the residential sector.

Water Investigations

In terms of regional water studies in Alberta, in 2008, a program was started to map and inventory the province’s groundwater resources. Airborne geophysics, borehole data, groundwater sampling, and other field activities were used. The Edmonton-Calgary Corridor Groundwater Atlas was released, and work continues. In addition, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, began groundwater vulnerability mapping; this was recently modified by Alberta Environment and Parks for three southern planning areas, producing the North Saskatchewan, Red Deer, and South Saskatchewan Groundwater Vulnerability Maps. (Ref: Alberta Environment and Parks, http://aep.alberta.ca/water/programs-and-services/groundwater/science-and-knowledge/provincial-groundwater-inventory-program.aspx).

In the article, “Scanning Calgary’s Water Towers: Applications of Hydrogeophysics in Challenging Mountain Terrain”, by Craig Christiansen, Masaki Hayashi, and Laurence Bentley of the University of Calgary Department of Geoscience, the authors discuss the geophysical methods used to study mountain groundwater storage processes at Fortress Mountain, near Calgary. The article highlights the importance of alpine zones for water storage, especially in drier lowland areas such as our prairies, and the various challenges involved in collecting and interpreting the geophysical data.

In the article, “Surface Geophysical Exploration for Groundwater at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana County, Kenya”, by Paul Bauman, Erin Ernst, and Landon Woods of Advisian (WorleyParsons Group), the authors discuss their geophysical field work in and around the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, and their goals to increase understanding of the hydrogeology of the area and provide drilling targets for new water wells. The article describes not only the scientific challenges of finding clean drinking water in a rift area containing volcanic rocks, but also gives a timely glimpse into the realities of a large refugee camp, and how geophysicists are helping.

Enjoy!

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About the Author(s)

Omid Aghaei completed his PhD in geophysics at Dalhousie University, producing the first 3D seismic image of a fast-spreading mid-ocean ridge at the East Pacific Rise. He then moved to Calgary and began his career at Shell as a Geophysicist. He is currently working in Shell’s Marine Imaging team.

Ruth Peach has a BSc (Hons) in geology and has worked in the area of seismic service business development and marketing for most of her career. She is currently volunteering as Vice Chair of the APEGA Geoscience Subcommittee for the Practice Standards Committee, and is active on the CSEG RECORDER, VIG and New Initiatives Committees.

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