New research will establish whether rocks deep beneath Moray Firth in Scotland are suitable for storing carbon emissions from power stations.
The Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage (SCCS) will carry out the study to evaluate captain sandstone in terms of capacity, technical feasibility and commercial viability to store CO2.
"The captain sandstone has the potential to store decades of output from a coal-fired power station, like the existing plant at Longannet or a future CCS project such as Hunterston or Peterhead," said SCCS British Geological Survey scientist Dr Maxine Akhurst.
The research will look into the thickness, extent and fluid flow properties of the rock lying 30 miles out to sea before studying the challenges of injecting CO2.
The study, expected to be complete by end of the year, is funded by energy firms including Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower, Shell UK and Longannet Power Station.