Subsurface energy and storage
The transition of energy supply from mainly fossil sources to low carbon energy sources is essential for future environmental sustainability.
Large-scale and long-term geological subsurface storage has arisen to meet high-fluctuation seasonal energy demand.
Here we apply synchrotron characterisation methods (e.g. imaging, spectroscopy, and scattering) to study the complex microstructure of the target rocks, the flow behaviours of the fluids used in energy storage (e.g. H2, heat, compressed air, synthetic methane) or disposal (e.g. CO2, nuclear waste) under subsurface pressure and temperature, the chemical reactions of these fluids with host rocks, and the location and form of residual liquids or gases trapped in the rocks.
This research spans a range of length scales from sub-nano to mm-scale. It also combines with laboratorial imaging (SEM, TEM) and measurements (e.g. adsorption, permeability, ICP-MS) improve the understanding of subsurface energy storage, in order to increase the energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact.
We work closely with research councils (e.g. NERC, EPSRC) and industrial partners (e.g. BP, Shell) to push scientific frontiers and improve industrial applications of subsurface energy storage.
Nanopores (A), macrospores (B), minerals (C), laminations (D) and fractures (E) were imaged in 3D using different techniques from nano-scale to macro-scale.