Solid Carbon assesses Vancouver Island's earthquake risk

Could injecting CO2 into the ocean floor trigger seismic activity? Plus, Victoria's ocean entrepreneurs get the spotlight.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, Victoria researchers take the lead on what it means to inject carbon dioxide into the ocean floor off Vancouver Island, a number of local entrepreneurs get the media spotlight, and the out-of-town Victoria tech fans make themselves known.

Now onto today’s briefing. It’s 794 words: a three-minute read.

-Allison, @allisongacad

By the way, if you're not already subscribed, you can fix that here.

Understanding the earthquake potential of climatetech with Solid Carbon

A figure from the published study, showcasing the proposed site of CO2 injection, along with red dots indicating seismic events around the Cascadia basin from January 1, 2012 to July 1, 2022. Figure: GeoHazards

The newest era of climate solutions largely revolves around removing carbon dioxide directly from our atmosphere — but where will this captured carbon go? It’s a looming question with inklings of answers, but new findings from the University of Victoria ecosystem could address the uncertainty.

Solid Carbon, a global research project led by Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) at UVic, studies how to transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into rock below the seafloor so it’s stored there permanently. The team came to recent conclusions about the impacts of injecting captured CO2 into the Cascadia Basin, a region just west of Vancouver Island and part of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate.

“The question about the risk of pumping CO2 into the ocean crust is important,” said Martin Scherwath, a senior staff scientist with ONC, in a release. “People on the West Coast can have concerns when they hear that the CO2 will be injected under pressure into an area where there are natural earthquakes due to tectonic stresses. These results show that an additional risk is practically non-existent.”

The results, published in academic journal GeoHazards and titled Fault Slip Tendency Analysis for a Deep-Sea Basalt CO2 Injection in the Cascadia Basin, aimed to understand the potential for human-induced earthquakes at the proposed injection site.

The researchers assessed fault slip potential, a contributing indicator to an earthquake. A computer modelling tool, initially developed at Stanford University to assess injection wells on land, was used for the first time in an offshore, marine setting to conclude that the potential for fault slip is less than one percent — statistically quite low, say the researchers.

“The modelling results show that the injection wouldn’t cause these faults to slip and therefore won’t cause seismic waves,” said geophysicist Eneanwan Ekpo Johnson in a release, who led the study as part of her postdoctoral work at ONC and UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and now works for Natural Resources Canada.

The conclusions are the latest among a suite of findings developed by Solid Carbon, which is working to create a fully integrated system of technologies to safely capture, remove, and store atmospheric CO2. Last year, the team found that carbon dioxide could transform into rock within 25 years, and the technology has the potential to sequester up to 250,000 gigatons of CO2.

How do you feel about injecting CO2 off the coast of Vancouver Island?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

📰 More Victoria innovation news

🌊 Diving in: Scott Beatty, founder and CEO of MarineLabs, was interviewed by Innovate BC about his work developing coastal intelligence for B.C. and beyond.

🤝 Doubling down: The provincial government recently released a strategy to support intellectual property of small and medium-sized enterprises, with aims to ease the navigation of the financial and legal aspects of IP.

🚤 Drone boats: Julie Angus, founder and CEO of Open Ocean Robotics, was featured by MaRS Discovery District, a Toronto-based accelerator for Canadian tech and innovation.

☀️ Deep tech: Solaires Enterprises released a video showcasing how its perovskite-based ink is made to develop solar cells for panels.

🤔 Last week we asked: where are all of you reading from?

  • 66% of you live and work in Victoria… but we also have some out-of-town YYJ tech enthusiasts in the mix, with 18% neither living nor working in Victoria. (Welcome!)

🕴️Tech jobs of the week

Find your next career:

Hiring in Victoria? Reply to this email and let us know!

📅 Upcoming events

July 29 | In-Person Ladies Learning Code: JavaScript for the Web (18+): This workshop is designed to be a hands-on experience for JavaScript, for female-identified and male-identified, trans, and non-binary adults.

August 11 | iWIST Summer Party: Prepare to be inspired as Victoria's STEM community gathers for an evening of networking, engaging conversations, and high-quality canapés.

Have an upcoming event? Reply to let us know.

🙋 I need a…

We at Victoria Tech Journal know you, our community, pretty well. Are you searching for someone in your field to have coffee with, a hiring hookup, a lead on local investors, or suggestion for a great Victoria tech tool? Whatever you’re hunting for, let us know. We’ll post it in this section and make it happen.

Email your requests to [email protected].

Have something or someone we should know about? Reply or email [email protected] so we can work together to spotlight the lesser-known stories of Victoria's tech ecosystem.

What did you think of today's newsleter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.