Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Measuring, monitoring and controlling the risks of CCS, EGS and unconventional hydrocarbons in the subsurface

Topic identifier: LCE-27-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
20 September 2016
Deadline: 05 January 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and unconventional gas development impact on the subsurface. Subsequently, advanced and cost effective monitoring of the containment of underground CO2 and natural gas is vital for the sustainable management of the subsurface and its resources.

In CCS, the safe and permanent geological storage of CO2 requires a continuous and sophisticated monitoring of the storage complex. For enhanced geothermal systems, the use of supercritical CO2 has been proposed as a circulating heat transmission fluid. The CO2 would bring the advantage of a low viscosity and hence low flow resistance as compared to water, and could achieve permanent storage of CO2 as a supplementary benefit. In both CCS and EGS, robust monitoring is a key prerequisite for the safe and sustainable storage or circulation of significant volumes of CO2 in the subsurface.

Technological progress, in particular the combination of horizontal drilling with multiple stages of hydraulic fracturing, has enabled the development of unconventional hydrocarbon resources. This has resulted in new opportunities, but also bears environmental and public health risks, which need to be better understood, monitored, managed and communicated appropriately. These risks relate mainly to water pollution (in particular stemming from insufficient underground characterisation, inappropriate well casing, the use of chemicals in the fracking process, and waste management), but also air emissions as well as local impacts linked in particular to transport, land and water use.

Research is needed to better understand and quantify possible (natural and engineered) leakage pathways for natural gas, the rates of leakage into aquifers and escape at surface, the impacts that leakage can have on fresh groundwater resources, soil and biodiversity, and the time frame in which emissions will return to baseline values. In addition, the effective detection and quantification of leakage requires a scientifically robust method for determining natural background concentrations of CO2 and natural gas in the soil and at the surface.

Uniform, unbiased and independent data are needed to improve environmental stewardship in all three aforementioned geo-energy applications.


The exact scope of this topic will be further specified in the course of 2016, taking account of, inter alia, the review of the effectiveness of the Commission Recommendation of 22 January 2014 on minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (2014/70/EU) (such as shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, as well as preliminary findings from four projects on environmental impacts of unconventional gas funded under Horizon 2020 2014-2015 Work Programme.

Expected Impact:

To be further specified in the course of 2016. This topic may provide European and North American researchers with a platform to enhance and deepen transatlantic dialogue on environmental and public health issues related to these three applications.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.
IMPORTANT: Please also read the introductory policy context for the activity ENABLING THE DECARBONISATION OF THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS DURING THE TRANSITION TO A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY of the COMPETITIVE LOW CARBON ENERGY call under the Societal Challenge 3 'Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy' of the Work Programme 2016 - 2017.


  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan) .

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process.

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.
  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.
  8. Additional documents


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