One small step for man, one giant leap for the CO2 rig

29 April 2019

Huge progress towards the controlled release experiment today as we successfully placed the CO2 container on the seabed! Containing 3 tonnes of CO2, the gas rig was a pretty hefty load to be lowered over the side of the ship using the ship’s A-frame crane.

Caution! Wide load: the CO2 gas tanks go over back of the ship for placement on the seabed, 100m below…

Once the tanker was released to sink down to the seafloor, our ROV Isis set off straight after it to see how it landed. Given the size of the tanker (5.5 long by 2.5m wide) it was pretty easy to find, especially with the long recovery rope leading the way. To everyone’s relief and no one’s surprise, a thorough investigation showed everything was in perfect working order. We even got to see our first CO2 bubbles…though only from a very small test release from the tanker to ensure we have full control over the gas flow rate.

All eyes on the multiple screens in the ROV control van where camera feed from the gas rig and the ROV itself show progress of the tanks to the seafloor.

Nail-biting: The engineering team (and Chris!) monitor progress on the screens in the control room…

…whilst scientists are equally gripped by the action on the screens in the main lab.

Happy, smiley faces all round when it’s all done!

Next on the agenda is pushing the gas pipe in place in the seafloor sediments. This is another unique task, this time using the custom-built Cellula Robotics drill rig. There are so many “world firsts” being attempted on this cruise that these incredible feats of engineering are almost starting to feel routine!

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