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Department of Chemical Engineering

A power station with smoke billowing from chimneys, near a sea and mountain landscape

Subsurface energy systems

Development of sustainable solutions unlocking the subsurface capacities.

Subsurface systems play a critical role in transition from the conventional fossil fuels to the green and sustainable energy and environment, while the global demand for energy is expected to increase 25% by 2050.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires addressing the global warming challenge and requires advanced engineering solutions, new multiscale simulation and characterisation technologies, which are the particular specialism of our group.

Subsurface energy systems research focuses on characterisation, design, modelling and optimisation of subsurface engineering applications such as geological carbon storage, geothermal energy, soil remediation, and conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon recovery.

Research portfolio

Thermodynamic modelling

  • Thermodynamic models of multicomponent mixtures under high pressure and rock confinement

Digital rock technology

  • Pore-to-continuum-scale modelling of petrophysical properties using pore-network modelling, Lattice Boltzmann, Volume-of-Fluid methods
  • Geochemical modelling for industrial applications
  • Multiphase flow and reactive transport characterisation

CO2 storage

  • Determining structural and stratigraphical trapping efficiency using geocellular models
  • Estimating long term solubility trapping mechanism using high-resolution simulation
  • Integrated CO2-geothermal systems using compositional modelling with thermosiphon and thermodiffusion effects
  • Modelling CO2-oil-water interaction for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in fractured media

Geothermal energy

  • Upscaling the geochemical reactions in geothermal engineering
  • Well integrity modelling
  • Modelling Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)
  • Modelling heat extraction from heterogeneous Hot Sedimentary Aquifers
  • Optimisation of heat extraction from uncertain geothermal resources
  • Double diffusive natural convection in CO2 geothermal applications
  • Modelling aquifer thermal storage

Enhanced oil recovery

  • Low salinity water flooding
  • CO2-enhanced oil recovery
  • Surfactant flooding
  • Polymer flooding

Optimisation and uncertainty quantification

  • Computationally efficient response surface surrogates
  • Black box simulators coupled with optimisation algorithms
  • Uncertainty-incorporated modelling of CO2 storage and geothermal heat extraction


We have developed in-house pore-scale computational tools including:

  • in-house developed thermodynamic models for multicomponent mixtures under high pressure and rock confinement;
  • in-house developed GPU-based pore-network modelling for single-phase, two-phase quasi-static and dynamic two-phase flow, GPU-based pore-network geochemical modelling, GPU-based single-phase and two-phase reactive transport Lattice-Boltzmann modelling;
  • gas flow simulation in fractured, microporous and mesoporous media;
  • darcy-scale multiphase flow and reactive transport;
  • multiscale modelling of enhanced hydrocarbon recovery, enhanced geothermal systems and carbon storage;
  • optimisation and uncertainty quantification using industry standard black box simulators of multiphase flow.

This group utilises advanced characterisation technologies for fluids and rocks such as:

  • microscale X-ray imaging and Synchrotron-based X-ray imaging;
  • micromodel - microfluidic laboratory and optical microscopy;
  • core-flooding systems;
  • advanced rheology and fluids characterisation;
  • solid surface analysis (zeta sizer, XPS, XRD, AFM).