Experts

Prof. Dr. Achim Kopf

Project Coordination AIMS3
MARUM, University of Bremen

My research interests are in the field of complex geodynamic processes, and there especially in the interactions between rocks and circulating fluids (waters, gases). In AIMS3 this includes the CO2 deposition in young oceanic crust as solid carbonate and the monitoring with observatories is concerned.

In AIMS3, mid-ocean spreading centers, where magma from the Earth’s mantle reacts with cold seawater, are central in that quenching produces fractured basalt, which because of its permeability is the largest subsurface water reservoir on Earth. Drilling into this marine aquifer system, instrumenting it, and using CO2 to fill the pores with carbonate represents a sustainable way to effectively turn carbon dioxide into “rock” and sequester it over geologic time (millions of years).

As a technology-savvy researcher, I find it exciting to understand the storage potential of ocean crust basalts in this project through such diverse methods as preliminary geophysical exploration, direct sampling, and then through chemical, physical, and biological investigations, and to expand on this through experiments in the lab, on/in the seafloor, and through computer simulations to determine the societal benefits and resulting costs of such CO2 storage. These figures, which can then be compared with those for CO2 storage under the seabed of the North Sea (GEOSTOR), will provide decision-making aids to better compare and evaluate the opportunities and risks of various options for removing CO2 from the ocean and atmosphere. In this way, I would like to support a factual, society-wide discussion about the various measures that can be used to achieve national and international emission reduction targets.

Prof. Dr. Eric P. Achterberg

Sensor development
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

I work in the Chemical Oceanography research unit at GEOMAR and have >265 research publications investigating water column biogeochemistry with a particular emphasis on carbon and (micro)nutrient cycling and relationships with physical and biological oceanographic processes. The research includes development of novel analytical techniques and sensor systems, and their application to biogeochemical studies.

I am and have been involved in UK and German ocean acidification and CO2 Greenhouse Gas projects, the International GEOTRACES Programme and European Projects on chemical sensor development (SenseOCEAN, Explotect, OceanSensor, ATLANTOS) and Carbon Capture and Storage (STEMM-CCS). One of my main goals is to unravel complex processes associated with ocean acidification, carbonate chemistry in shelf seas, and CO2 variability in the N Atlantic, some of the grand challenges for society as a result of climate change. The development of appropriate, low-cost sensors is an emerging objective the AIMS3 project will contribute to these challenges.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bach

Theme: Fluid-rock interaction in oceanic crust
MARUM, University of Bremen

My research focuses on the interactions between the ocean floor and seawater and their effects on geochemical cycles. These interactions release energy carriers for chemosynthesis. I study the underlying mechanisms and the importance of these processes for microbial assemblages in the ocean floor.

The volcanic birth of the seafloor in the deep sea along the mid-ocean ridges is followed by a very long period of cooling, during which astronomical amounts of seawater flow through the rocky subsurface. These processes strongly influence the composition of the oceans and the atmosphere. For example, the exchange between the seawater and the ocean crust results in the release of calcium, which reacts with carbon dioxide dissolved in the seawater to form carbonate minerals in the ocean. These processes also occur along the flow paths of seawater circulating within the crust, forming carbonate minerals directly in the crust. These naturally occurring processes are important CO2 storage sites; however, much more CO2 can theoretically be stored there than occurs naturally.

The use of the ocean crust’s enormous storage capacity in CDR measures is extremely obvious, but we do not yet adequately understand the feedbacks between carbonate precipitation and the flow properties of the volcanic substrate. Through experimental studies in the laboratory and using a seafloor observatory, a subproject of AIMS3 aims to fill this knowledge gap so that better predictions can be made about the potential CDR use of the ocean crust. 

Prof. Dr. Ralf Bachmayer

Theme: Unmanned Monitoring Technology AIMS3
MARUM, University of Bremen

My research focus lies on the development of intelligent marine systems and in particular research on mobile robotic underwater systems. These systems, autonomous or semi-autonomous, are helping to explore and monitor essential oceanic processes in the water column and at the seafloor.

In AIMS3 I am working on the development of a novel mobile system for long-term monitoring of potential gas seepages in the context of CO2 seafloor storage.

Prof. Dr. Martin Eickhoff

Theme: Sensor development
Institute of Solid State Physics (IFP), University of Bremen

The focus of my research is the synthesis and analysis of modern semiconductor materials as well as their hetero-, nano- and quantum structures. Besides the investigation of basic material properties and quantum phenomena in solids, the application in electronic and optoelectronic devices and particularly in chemical and biochemical sensors is in the focus of my interest. The application of modern semiconductor materials, as for example GaN, for the analysis of chemical or biological processes and the chemical analysis of liquids is a fascinating  interdisciplinary research field that has attracted my interest for several years. Our objective in AIMS3 is the realization of fast and stable pH-sensors based on GaN to be integrated into a multifunctional sensor module for monitoring of sub seabed CO2-storage.

The challenge in this project is to control and to modify the sensitive gate area of a field-effect transistor, a microelectronic devise, in such a way that it exhibits a high pH sensitivity and at the same time guarantees long term stability of the device in liquid environment, where microelectronic devices typically cannot be used. The approach that is employed here, to use GaN-based ion sensitive field-effect transistors (ISFETs), has already been successful in the realization of different types of biosensors in the past. GaN is known from its application in blue, ultraviolet and white light emitting diodes. However, due to its excellent electrochemical properties we expect a high GaN based ISFETs to outperform comparable devices realized in silicon technology. The transfer of results from high level material research to address interdisciplinary scientific problems is a fascinating topic that we have pursue in different aspects during the last years. It also reflects the main philosophy of AIMS3: Increase of knowledge and improvement of technology by integration of expertise form different research fields.

Prof. Dr. Lars Rüpke

Theme: Geodynamic Modelling
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

I am a numerical modeller with a focus on geodynamics and mantle convection, which involves hydrothermal systems, serpentinization, and the complex interaction between fluids and minerals/rocks as well as the study of deep Earth water cycles.

Dr. Mario Esposito

Theme: Monitoring
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

My research interest is marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography with focus on carbon cycling and inorganic nutrients dynamics. In AIMS3, I will be involved in the assessment and monitoring of water column conditions at the storage site via analysis of discrete water samples and sensor measurements. I will also be involved in the development of a new sensor for in-situ measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC).

The interaction of gaseous CO2 molecules with seawater generates a series of chemical reactions that leads to an increase in DIC and acidity in the surrounding environment. Both the size of the impacted area and the effects would depend on the amount and flux of CO2, the duration of a leakage and also on local hydrological conditions. To assess with confidence potential environmental impacts of offshore CCS activities, monitoring tools are required. A direct way to assess water column carbonate chemistry changes is via analysis of collected water samples and in-situ measurements from deployed sensors over time.

For me, it is important to show that when CCS sites are appropriately monitored, offshore storage can be seen as a safe pollution mitigation strategy.

Dr. Christopher Schmidt

Theme: Marine Geology & Geochemistry
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

As a marine geologist I am interested in fluid dynamics and their geochemical composition. Within the AIMS3 project I am responsible for the geochemical exploration of possible storage sites for CO2 in basalts. For this purpose, I will participate in ship expeditions to characterize possible fluid seeps.

For the storage of CO2 in geological formations it is extremely important to understand the geological system and possible fluid circulation. The collected data will be used to support numerical modeling.

The work in the AIMS3 project allows me to be part of a cutting-edge

research project that aims to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Dr. Susan Mau

Theme: Sensor development
Sea & Sun Technologies

With my experience from cruises on German and American research vessels to all areas of the world, I am aware of the requirements for underwater platforms equipped with measuring instruments in both fair and foul weather conditions. My previous work involved areas of geology, oceanography, microbiology and analytical chemistry. I can put this knowledge to good use in my current job.

Since 2018 employed at Sea & Sun Technology, a provider of underwater sensor technology, as R&D project manager, together with my colleague Gerd Seidel I take care of new innovative projects that thrive on knowledge transfer from universities/universities to us as industrial partners. Among other things, we are looking for ways to avoid biofouling on sensors, to find cables underwater in the sediment, to monitor sediment transport at barrages, to measure ocean eddies with higher resolution and now also to check CCS processes using innovative sensor technology adapted to deep-sea conditions.

I find it a necessity that monitoring be multiplied, broadened, and made more innovative, as only the data base can show us how rapidly or creeping environmental conditions change and how they interact. This well-tried learning combined with new AI computational methods can ensure we protect ourselves and our environment.

I am very happy to contribute a small part to the understanding of what makes our environment tick and how we can manage it more sustainably.

Dipl. Ing. Gerd Seidel

Theme: Sensor development
Sea & Sun Technologies

Since 1986, I have been involved in the development of marine measuring instruments, and as Head of Development at Sea & Sun Technology, I am committed to continuously develop our products and, in cooperation with research institutions, to find new technologies for sensor technology and thus enable users of the probes to measure the parameters faster, more accurately and more independently of pressure.

Equally important is the further development of the probes in terms of additional data interfaces, the performance for providing calculated data, for easier handling, and the modularization for easy conversion for different applications.

As an engineer, I try to adapt the instruments to the challenges of the respective environment. This applies not only to probes and sensors for the deep sea (up to 11,000 m), but also to measuring instruments installed at barrages, in abandoned mines, probes for measuring small-scale turbulence, the so-called microstructures (MSS) as well as a measuring system of probes, which allows the measurement of a cross-section (2D – vertical structure) in real time (towed instrument array – TIA).

Dr. Raimund Brunner

Theme: Sensor development
Fraunhofer IPM, Freiburg

As group manager of the Spectroscopy and Process Analytics group, I have accumulated over 25 years of experience in the development of new customer-specific optical measurement methods at Fraunhofer. The fields of application were very diverse, ranging from the EUV solar spectrometer on the International Space Station, gas analysis on electric steel furnaces and (N2O monitoring) on combustion engines to liquid analysis using quantum cascade laser or ATR spectroscopy.

In all these works, there were always questions on the background of increasing environmental pollution, handling of energy resources and the obvious climatic changes. For a deeper understanding of the climatic development on Earth and the derivation of trends and crossing of critical thresholds, elaborate simulations and models are continuously developed, compared and improved. Robust models require a comprehensive and resilient database to implement precautionary strategies or perform climate engineering. 

I am pleased to be able to contribute to this with the development of “clever sensor technology” in teamwork with my colleagues.

M.Sc. Hendrik Fuhr

Theme: Sensor development
Fraunhofer IPM, Freiburg

For the past 7 years, my work at Fraunhofer IPM has been concerned with the development of sensors based on attenuated total internal reflection. This topic already occupied me during my master’s thesis as well as today as a project manager. Besides ATR technology, another focus of my work is laser spectroscopy.

I support the AIMS3 project with the development of a robust, sensitive CO2 sensor. The advantage compared to the state of the art is the reduction of the response time of the sensor from several minutes to a few seconds. This will allow measurements to be profiled on landers and increase public confidence in offshore CCS.

Working on this topic is particularly appealing to me because the demand on sensor technology in terms of robustness in a harsh environment and under very high ambient pressure is a major challenge. At the same time, it offers the opportunity to contribute to the further development of technical solutions for a more sustainable world.

Dr. Tim Freudenthal

Theme: Seafloor drilling
MARUM, University of Bremen

I am a Marine Geologist with more than 20 years of experience within the field of drilling technology for sampling the subsurface at the sea floor. I am the leader of a workgroup at MARUM that is responsible for the development and the operation of the robotic drill rigs MARUM-MeBo70 and MARUM-MeBo200. Next to the recovery of high-quality samples I am especially interested in the use of the bore holes for in-situ measurements and experiments.

Dr. Matthias Zabel

Theme: Osmo-sampler development, Geochemistry
MARUM, University of Bremen

One of my main research interests is the investigation of (bio)geochemical interactions in the seafloor in connection with the turnover of organic carbon components. For this purpose I have different methods for sampling and content analysis of fluids and sediments at my disposal.

Within the AIMS3 research consortia I am responsible for the long-term documentation of the composition of fluids circulating in the oceanic crust. Here, the focus of the investigations is to answer two main questions. Do natural changes in the composition of the fluids occur over an observation period of up to 3 years? If this is the case, the follow up question arises as to the cause or the control mechanisms that are responsible for the changes. Furthermore, the determination of the velocity of the fluid circulation is of crucial importance for special geochemical investigations in partner subprojects of the network.

To obtain this information, I will deploy osmosis-driven long-term samplers at deep well locations previously defined as key sites. This kind of continuous sampling method has been developed by US-American colleagues already 20 years ago, but due to the required boundary conditions it has been used only rarely so far, but then mostly successfully. Tracer substances are to be used to determine flow velocity and dispersion. Although the small number of possible boreholes or sampling possibilities of the circulating waters bears the risk of not being able to record the transport process of a tracer, in case of success the information obtained would be of essential importance for the determination of geochemical turnover rates in connection with the intended CO2 injection or for the assessment of whether the basaltic ocean crust is suitable as a permanent storage site for CO2.

Dr. Tobias Wendler

Theme: Carbon accounting and acceptance studies AIMS3
Institute for Economic Research and Policy, University of Bremen

My research focuses on innovation and environmental economics. In particular, the importance of green technologies and the societal framework for sustainable economic development are the focus of my work. In AIMS3 this includes cost-benefit analyses on the economic sense of CO2 storage as well as research on the public acceptance of this new technology.

In AIMS3 the feasibility of a new technology for the storage of CO2 in the ocean crust is investigated. Technologies in general, but especially new technologies for which little prior experience is available, harbor uncertainties with respect to both the economic viability and the social acceptance of their use. Taking these questions into account at an early stage and shaping the consideration processes in a participatory manner is of decisive importance in order to shape the use of new technologies economically and in the interests of society.

For an innovation and environmental economist, it is a highly exciting project to be involved in the research of a completely new technology from the very beginning. From an environmental economics perspective, the key question is whether the new technology could be an efficient way to mitigate environmental problems. At the same time, from an innovation economics perspective, the introduction of new technologies is a holistic process in which not only technical-economic but also social or legal aspects have to be considered. It is a motivating task to be able to offer orientation through our research on these questions and thus to provide the basis for a broad societal discourse.

Sayoni Bhattacharya

Topic: Sensor development
GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel

I am an Early Career Researcher in the Chemical Oceanography department in GEOMAR. My area of interest is in the marine carbonate system, the biogeochemical activity of the ocean and understanding various established methods to quantify the carbonate system parameters.

As a part of AIMS3 project, I am working on the development of in-situ microfluidic sensor to measure dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in seawater using conductometric technique. The goal is to deploy the sensor into the deep ocean to quantify potential CO2 leakages in the form of DIC following injection of CO2 into geological storage formations under the sea floor.

I am intrigued to be an active part within this project framework, where I can contribute to the emerging technologies of CCS monitoring approaches through my research work.

Isabel Kremin

Topic: Marine geology, numerical modeling
GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel

As a geophysicist, my research focus is on the numerical modelling of fluid flow at different scales. These can range from very small pore spaces of a rock to regional scales of several kilometers.

As part of AIMS3, my major task is to design a 3D model for heat and fluid transport for the site of the proposed ridge-flank observatory on the Reykjanes Ridge, incorporating available geological and geophysical data (e.g., crustal architecture, bathymetry, sediment cover). This model is of fundamental importance for making statements regarding the carbon uptake rates in rocks as well as the interaction between rocks and fluids circulating in the ocean crust. It thus provides us with a way to predict reservoir behavior on long time scales.

Through my work in AIMS3, I hope to be able to make an active contribution to protecting the climate and advancing the use of CCS in basaltic ocean crustal rocks.

Isabel Lange

Theme: Fluid-Rock-Interaction
MARUM, University of Bremen

My research focuses on experimental work of fluid flow through preparations of different basalts in the laboratory. On small scales, I study the alteration of rock pore spaces by the precipitation of carbonate minerals. The results are scaled up by numerical models to estimate the effectiveness of this CDR method on a large scale