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Our report on low carbon subsurface technologies released by the EA

1 October 2021

The Environment Agency has released WSS Energy’s subsurface technology report.

Our recent report, “Low carbon subsurface technologies: identifying potential environmental impacts” has now been released by the Environment Agency’s Chief Scientist’s Group. This report examines 3 low carbon technology areas that have potential for development in England in the coming years:

Energy extraction & production, including:

  • Mine water geothermal heating and cooling

  • Hydrothermal

  • Petrothermal

Retrievable energy storage, including:

  • Compressed air energy storage

  • Underground hydrogen storage

  • Underground bio-methanation

  • Underground hydropower storage


Permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide, namely

  • CO2 storage associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS)


Subsurface energy storage options
Subsurface energy storage options

The study investigated many technologies still at the concept stage, or technologies which are only recently being commercialised globally. The methodology developed source-pathway-receptor models for the most likely environmental impacts, and a comprehensive literature review was used to build the evidence base for each technology.


The report identified that, as with any immature technologies, there is a relatively poor level of understanding of the environmental risks as technology deployments create data and experience. Conversely, the existing use of the subsurface, for example through mining, oil and gas or geothermal, provides some transferable knowledge that should be useful for environmental risk mitigation.


The report summary is available here.


Our work in the energy transition considers cleaner ways of energy conversion, storage and use for both commercial and public sector clients. Away from subsurface technologies, we have also delivered advisory projects in battery mineral extraction, biofuel technology, biomass conversion and an extensive portfolio of work in CO2 utilisation.

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