Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 427–455 | Cite as

Potential for deep geological sequestration of CO2 in Switzerland: a first appraisal

  • Gabriel Chevalier
  • Larryn W. DiamondEmail author
  • Werner Leu


Possibilities to sequester anthropogenic CO2 in deep geological formations are being investigated worldwide, but the potential within Switzerland has not yet been evaluated. This study presents a first-order appraisal based solely on geological criteria collated from the literature. The Swiss Molasse Basin (SMB) and the adjacent Folded Jura are the only realms of the country where CO2 could conceivably be stored in saline aquifers. Evaluation of geological criteria at the basin-wide scale shows that the SMB–Jura has moderate potential (score of 0.6 on a scale from 0 to 1) when compared to basins elsewhere. At the intrabasinal scale, inspection of the stratigraphy reveals four regional candidate aquifers that are sealed by suitable caprocks: top Basement plus basal Mesozoic sandstones, all sealed by the Anhydrite Group; Upper Muschelkalk sealed by the Gipskeuper; Hauptrogenstein sealed by the Effinger Member, and Upper Malm plus Lower Cretaceous sealed by the Lower Freshwater Molasse. Nine geological criteria are defined to evaluate the storage potential of these and other smaller scale candidates. A numerical scoring and weighting scheme allows the criteria to be assessed simultaneously, permitting the storage potential to be depicted using the 0–1 scale in contoured maps. Approximately 5,000 km2 of the central SMB exhibits potentials between 0.6 and 0.96. The Fribourg–Olten–Luzern area is the most favoured owing to the presence of several sealed aquifers within the preferred 800–2,500 m depth interval, and to its low seismicity, low geothermal gradient, low fault density, and long groundwater residence times. Smaller areas with good potential lie between Zürich and St. Gallen. In contrast, western Switzerland, the Jura and the southern SMB have markedly poorer potential. Considering only the portions of the aquifers with potential above 0.6, the theoretical, effective storage capacity of the basin is estimated to be 2,680 million tonnes of CO2.


Sequestration Carbon dioxide Switzerland Swiss Molasse basin CO2 storage potential Geology Aquifer 



We are grateful for the support of the Schweizerische Studiengesellschaft für Mineralische Rohstoffe and of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Critical comments by Andreas Gautschi, Irina Gaus, Martin Mazurek, Niklaus Waber and an anonymous journal reviewer greatly helped to improve the manuscript. We further acknowledge the access to proprietary well data of the Swiss petroleum industry (SEAG and Swissgas).


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Copyright information

© Swiss Geological Society 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Chevalier
    • 1
  • Larryn W. Diamond
    • 1
    Email author
  • Werner Leu
    • 2
  1. 1.Rock–Water Interaction Group, Institute of Geological SciencesUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Geoform Ltd.MinusioSwitzerland

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