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Investigation of Irish Carboniferous palaeokarst for CO2 geological storage and deep geothermal resources

Investigation of Irish Carboniferous palaeokarst for CO2 geological storage and deep geothermal resources


​This research has been carried under the Geological Survey Ireland 2017 Short Call. This call provided funding for researchers in academia or industry on the island of Ireland for projects of less than 12 months duration and less than €25,000. 

Please note that the final report has been redacted to remove staff, financial and sensitive information. Some file sizes have been reduced to allow easier uploading/downloading, higher quality files are available on request. Supplemental information is also available on request in most cases. Please contact research[AT]

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and not of Geological Survey Ireland or the Department of Climate Action, Communications and Environment.

Lead Applicant: Dr Deirdre Lewis

Host: SLR Consulting 

Project Title: Investigation of Irish Carboniferous Palaeokarst for CO2 Geological Storage and deep geothermal resources

Project Description: This seed project will identify deep drilling targets for CO2 geological storage and geothermal energy resource assessment onshore Ireland. Karstified reservoirs within Tournaisian and Visean carbonates of the Campine Basin in Belgium comply with the depth and safety restrictions for geological CO2 storage (Laenen 2004). The hottest spring waters in Britain emanate from palaeokarst in the Carboniferous Limestone near Bath (Adams et al. 2017), and thermal springs in Ireland are likely to flow through deep karst conduits (e.g., Blake et al., 2016). There is abundant evidence from quarries, outcrops and boreholes of Palaeozoic palaeokarst in Ireland (pers. comm. Jones and Kelly, 2017). This project will compile, map, quantify and assess evidence of presumed ancient karst features in Ireland based on quarries, deep mines, borehole records, seismic data, and known uplifted structural blocks. The final deliverable will add additional GIS layers to the existing SEAI Geothermal Play Fairway Analysis Project which is a guide to deep drilling targets for enhanced porosity and permeability at depth onshore Ireland. It is a further development of the Play Fairway Analysis Methodology and Toolkit for deep exploration onshore Ireland, leading to a demonstration deep drilling project.