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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Future GeoEnergy Resources (PGGE11261)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFuture GeoEnergy resources encompass the broad range of energy technologies and sources that interact with the geological subsurface. This includes both established energy technologies such as conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon extraction, the production of geothermal energy, water resources and developing areas such as energy storage (via compressed air or hydrogen), nuclear waste storage and the influence of the deep biosphere.
Course description The geological subsurface is used as both a source of fluids (water, oil, gas); a sink (CO2; waste water; nuclear waste) and a store (compressed air; hydrogen; natural gas). All such industrial operations risk either damaging nearby subsurface resources, or creating pollution at the Earth's surface, and must be conducted in a manner which minimises these risks.

This course introduces the technical background and covers the environmental issues associated with the responsible utilisation of Future GeoEnergy resources.

Course Outline
Semester 1:
Week 6
Introduction to course and GeoEnergy Research Talks Dr. Stuart Gilfillan
Introduction to GeoEnergy Resources Prof. Stuart Haszeldine
How will the UK meet its energy needs in the future? - Prof. Stuart Haszeldine

Week 7
Geomechanics & Experimental Simulation of the Subsurface Dr. Andrew Fraser-Harris

Week 8
Unconventional Hydrocarbons Dr. Stuart Gilfillan

Week 9
Geothermal Resources Dr. Andrew Fraser-Harris

Week 10
Implications of the Deep Biosphere for GeoEnergy Resources Dr. Sean McMahon

Semester 2:
Week 1
Nuclear Power Prof. Stuart Haszeldine

Week 2
Shale Geology and Seal Properties Dr. Mark Wilkinson

Week 3
Energy Storage Dr. Katriona Edlmann and Dr. Mark Wilkinson

Week 4
GeoEnergy Research Talks Dr. Stuart Gilfillan

Week 5
Water Resources Dr. Ian Molnar
Mineral Resources for a Zero-Carbon future Dr. Steve Hollis

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have studied basic geology to the satisfaction of the Course Organiser
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 100 %
Students will be required to submit the following coursework items to constitute the assessed component of this course:

A written 6 page report (including figures and tables, but excluding references which are not included in the page limit) report on a chosen Future GeoEnergy Technology to be submitted digitally for assessment by 12 noon on Wednesday 30th November 2022 in Week 11 of Semester 1.

An A0 size digital poster on a selected operating GeoEnergy site (excluding CCS sites as these are covered in Carbon Storage and Monitoring course). This is expected to be the same site as that presented orally in Week 4 of Semester 2, in order for the formative feedback on the presentations to be acted upon in poster preparation. This poster is to be submitted digitally for assessment by 12 noon on Wednesday 22nd February 2023 in the Flexible Learning Week of Semester 2.

Feedback Feedback is a key component of your learning experience, and something that is given a high priority in the Future GeoEnergy course. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback in the following instances:
- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the practical sessions, as students¿ progress on the exercises during the course (once a week). Teaching staff will provide feedback.
- Individual feedback will be provided on each student¿s individual presentations on a chosen relevant GeoEnergy project scheduled to be given during the course. This will include recommendations as to how you can improve your presentations in the future.
Students are expected to build on this feedback to progress and produce work of a high standard. Course team members are happy to give individual feedback to students who ask.
Examples of feedback can be found here:
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A broad, integrated knowledge of the range of future GeoEnergy Resources and the geological constraints associated with their use
  2. A critical understanding of the geomechanical controls on the subsurface injection of fluids
  3. Knowledge of the properties of fine grained rocks and their ability to act as geological seals
  4. An insight into the experimental approachs used to understand subsurface processes relevant to utilisation of GeoEnergy Resources
  5. Familiarity with common tools used to monitor GeoEnergy Resources
Reading List
Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air, 2009, by MacKay, DJC. Free to download here:
Energy Systems and Sustainability: Power for a Sustainable Future Paperback, 2011, by Everett, Boyle & Peake
Li et al., 2015 - A review on hydraulic fracturing of unconventional reservoir, by, Petroleum (journal) v. 1, p.8 - 15.
Amid et al. 2016 - Seasonal storage of hydrogen in a depleted natural gas reservoir, Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 41, 5549:5558
Luo et al., 2014 - Overview of current development in compressed air energy storage technology, by, Energy Procedia, v. 62, p. 603 611.
World Bank 2017 - The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future ¿ free to download here:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking- some subsurface technologies are controversial; all require expert knowledge to assess independently.
Presentation and data interpretation skills will also be gained from the course.
Additional Class Delivery Information All classes will be delivered in person.
KeywordsEarth Resources,GeoEnergy,Geothermal energy,Energy Storage
Course organiserDr Stuart Gilfillan
Tel: (0131 6)51 3462
Course secretaryMrs Lauren Blackman
Tel: (0131 6)50 2624
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