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

Postgraduate Course: Topical themes in GeoEngineering (PGGE11279)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAll geoengineering activities involving utilisation of subsurface resources, such as geothermal energy, carbon capture and storage and energy storage will cause changes in the subsurface hydrogeology. Hydrogeologists must assess the impact of these changes and take steps to minimise their impact. This course will cover current water legislation and regulations along with the environment impact assessment and risk assessments, which are the framework within which all hydrogeological and geoengineering activities must take place. The course will introduce regional groundwater flow modelling within a variety of different geoengineering scenarios; to refine skills in conceptualising groundwater systems from limited data; and to introduce professional groundwater modelling software use computers to model groundwater flow, chemistry and temperature according to geological formations, surface water flow and man-made influence.

The course lectures, which develop the students knowledge base with advancing concepts that, are supported by practical numerical modelling and report writing. This is aimed at developing technical, interpretation and reporting skills and encourage critical thinking. Integration of the concepts developed in the taught programme is facilitated through student centred investigations of current issues linked to a range of geoengineering applications.
Course description WK1

Session 1: Modelling Topic Multiphysics codes and creating meshes (Tuesday 16th January)
Computer workshop 1: Coupled Process Modelling. The students will be introduced to coupled process modelling to refine their skills in conceptualising groundwater systems and to introduce OpenGeoSys (OGS) multiphysics modelling software. The content will include:

- An introduction to THMC coupled process modelling
- Physics, Parameters, Equations, Benchmarks
- Code architecture and model requirements.
- Using Gmsh to create numerical meshes of any 1D, 2D or 3D
- Start of tutorial for OGS Jolley Valley.

Session 2: Geoenergy (Wednesday 17th January)
Seminar 1: 15-minute talks from each panel member followed by a 15-minute Q and A with the following panel:
- Emissions, energy and the energy transition Katriona Edlmann
- Intro to Geothermal Energy Sam Graham (The University of Edinburgh)
- Intro to Hydrogen Energy Storage Katriona Edlmann
- Intro to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Niklas Heinemann (The University of Edinburgh)
Seminar 1 activity: Class workshop on the future of energy. Workshops and associated break out groups are a common working pattern used by many employers and scientific meetings.
In preparation for the seminar workshop activity students MUST read an article or 2 in the news about energy in the UK, anything goes.

Session 1: Modelling Topic Hydraulic Controls on Fluid Flow (Tuesday 23rd January)
Computer workshop 2: Using models to understand fluid flow in the subsurface
Students are provided with a template for a groundwater model. Working in small groups representing consulting companies, they are to provide the most accurate groundwater model based on a few water level readings during a steady state natural conditions by manipulating the Hydraulic Conductivity. Teams are allowed to purchase (using mock money) further data points. The team with the closest to the virtual reality model gains the highest income, but this is of course balanced against how many data points were requested (purchased). Teams are then expected to present their results in terms of demonstrating the calibration of their model and are then given extra data points to validate their model.

Session 2: Risk and Environmental Impact Assessment (Wednesday 24th January)
Seminar 2: 30-minute talks from each panel member followed by a 15-minute Q and A with the following panel:
- Environmental Impact Assessment Hannah Page (Head of Environmental Planning and Consenting) ECUS
- Risk assessment Alex Bond (principal consultant) Quintessa,
Seminar 2 activity: We will work through the submitted environmental risk assessment associated with an environmental permit application for a landfill site at Homers Farm.

Session 1: Modelling Topic: Importance of benchmarks // Using Theis (Tuesday 6th February)
The students will develop understanding of the importance of benchmarks both to verify models and to create template from which to develop further models. The computer workshop will include modelling a number of single process simulations.
- Representation of natural geometry and different hydrogeological environments.
- Consideration of initial conditions
- Selection and assignment of boundary conditions.
- Groundwater Flow to a Well (Confined Aquifer, Unconfined Aquifer)
- Simulate a steady state and transient well test
- Compare results to analytical solution

Session 2: Water Environment Legislation and Regulations (Wednesday 31st January)
Seminar 3: 30-minute talk followed by a 15-minute Q and A with the following:
- Water regulations and legislation - Isla Smail (SEPA hydrogeologist)
- Drinking Water Quality Regulations Colette Robertson-Kellie (DWQR Scot Gov)
Seminar 3 activity: Using the relevant SEPA water environment-controlled activities you will determine the SEPA level of authorisation required for a number of different water use/interaction scenarios.

Session 1 Model Topic: Contaminant transport model, using OGS
Saltwater ingress due to over pumping at the coast, part 1. (Tuesday 30th January)
Computer workshop 3: A coastal aquifer system will be modelled, requiring a conceptual hydrogeological model with both groundwater flow and mass (contaminant) saltwater transport to be developed and parameterised. Students will have to consider appropriate parameterisation (turning geology into numbers), uncertainties and controls. The application of the tutorial is to balance possible water use and prevent long term saltwater ingress by managing the location of possible wells and pumping rates.
- OGS Intro HC model
- HC Benchmark Model (Mass Transport, Column Experiment) BM & Model
- HT Benchmark Model (Heat transport, Column Experiment) BM & Model
- Work through Saltwater transport in the coastal environment
- Implementation of time or other dependent functions, e.g. source terms (pumping schedule, rainfall events).

Session 2: Water Equality and social licence to operate (Wednesday 8th February)
Seminar 4 activity: We will hold formal class debates around resolutions pertinent to the topic of water equality:
- Should water be supplied for free?
- Are charities such as Water Aid the best vehicles to ensure equal access to water across the globe?
- Should building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile be allowed to continue?
- Should fracking for shale gas be supported?
- Should people who live on flood plains pay more for their house insurance?
- Should our environment and biosphere have an equal right to water as the local population in areas of water scarcity?
- Does water storage in reservoirs reduce water scarcity?
- Is desalination that answer to providing potable water?

Session 1: Modelling topic Contaminant transport part 2, consolidation of learning and reporting. (Tuesday 13th February)
Computer workshop 5 Contaminant transport model: Saltwater ingress due to overpumping at the coast, part 2.
Students are to determine the main controls on the saltwater intrusion, and identify key sensitivities. The workshop is free for students to explore the parameter space and the model responses, in preparation of the modelling report due at the end of the week.

Session 2 Geological repositories for hazard waste storage (Wednesday 14th February)
Seminar 5: Talk from Simon Norris, Head of RWM Research, UK on Nuclear waste storage.

WK6 (& WK8) Reactive Transport Part 1 & 2
Modelling Topic: From rainwater to groundwater
Modelling Skill: Setting up a multi species reactive transport scenario
Computer workshop 6: (Tuesday 27th February) The students will explore the influence of changing chemistry within the hydrological environment using the industry standard code PhreeqC to appraise changes in groundwater chemistry under a range of geoengineering scenarios. The content will include:
- Geochemical modelling using PhreeqC
- Rainwater and mineral equilibration
- Reactive transport simulation
- Using PhreeqC to evaluate equilibrium and kinetic controlled chemistry

Session 2: Sustainable groundwater management / production (Wednesday 28th February)
Seminar 6: 30-minute talks from each panel member followed by a 15-minute Q and A with the following panel:
- Alan McDonald at BGS to talk about African groundwater.
- Ahmed Chowdhury to talk about groundwater in Bangladesh.

Seminar 6 activity: Class discussions on sustainable groundwater management case studies. Working in groups of 3, each group will identify and lead discussions on one sustainable groundwater management case study that interests them. Each group will be expected to provide an overview of the case study, provide a background summary and highlight some of the groundwater management techniques used and an evaluation of their effectiveness. This can be delivered verbally or supported with slides, it is entirely up to each group how they wish to present their case study.

Session 1 and session 2 Student presentations on their dissertation projects (Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th March)
Students will give a 10-minute presentation on their proposed dissertation topic with time for questions and discussions (this will run over both sessions of this week)

The outline of the talks follows that of the posters:
- Background and motivation (importance)
- Knowledge gaps and statement of research problem
- Aims and objectives
- Methods
- Project logistics, costs and risks
- Project timeline

These presentations form part of the course assessment and will also include an element of peer feedback, where each student will be expected to fill in an assessment form for each presentation given.

Reactive Transport Part 2: Modelling Topic: From rainwater to groundwater
Modelling Skill: Setting up a multi species reactive transport scenario
Computer workshop 7: (Tuesday 12th March), as WK6 above

Session 2: Water and health (Wednesday 13th March)
Seminar 7: 30-minute talk followed by a 15-minute Q and A with the following panel:
- Moira Malcom (DWQR Scot Gov)
Seminar 7 activity: (BRING YOUR LAPTOP) using the BGS GeoIndex Onshore ( we will identify areas around the UK that may be at the greatest risk of arsenic, copper, lead, nickel and Cadmium exposure and summarise the health impacts of these contaminants.

Session 1 Multiphase flow modelling (Tuesday 19th March)
Modelling Topic: The Unsaturated Zone and Multiphase flow modelling
Computer workshop 8: Multiphase flow modelling, introduction to theory, and modelling. Gas storage, NAPL contamination, Oil migration all need multiphase flow models. Here we will explore the physics of multiphase flow models.
The students will investigate
-Infiltration using a Vadose zone RICHARDS flow model
-A column experiment exploring the replacement of fluid by gas during experimental work using a MULTIPHASE FLOW model.

Session 2: Remediation / Pollution Management (Wednesday 20th March)
Seminar 8: In groups of 2, each group will give a 10-minute presentation on a remediation/pollution management technology including a case study of it in use. Each member of the team is expected to present some content. The talks should cover: Technology background/basics, Pros and con of the technology, Case study of the technology in use.
The remediation technologies to cover are:
- Pump and treat
- Cut off wall
- Permeable reactive barriers
- Soil washing
- Bioremediation

Wastewater treatment (Wednesday 27th March)
Class fieldtrip to Scottish Water wastewater treatment centre

Legacy pollution (Wednesday 3rd April)
Class fieldtrip to Leadhills to visit a lead mine, go gold panning + see industrial/legacy pollution
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesBasic knowledge of geology and maths to satisfaction of CO
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
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) The coursework assessment consists of:
1. Modelling report (20%) due during Flexible
Learning week
2. 10-minute dissertation presentation (20%) due
week 7
3. Poster on the student¿s planned dissertation
topic (60%) due week 12

Feedback During the course, two of the components of the assessment, the modelling report and the dissertation outline presentation will provide formative feedback.

Over 80% of the course content has associated tutorials and practical sessions, most directly aligned with their assessment poster. This provides students with ongoing opportunities to consolidate their learning and provide continuous in-class feedback and the provision of in-class support to provide clarification if required.

Informal class discussions will be included within the course, teaching allowing both the exchange of ideas, and feedback on knowledge levels and on the presentation ideas
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Interpret environmental regulations in the context of environmental impact assessments.
  2. Use complex Multiphysics codes and coupled process modelling software
  3. Recognise and appraise the most monitoring and mitigations techniques to minimise the impact of geoengineering applications
  4. Evaluate and choose the most suitable remediation plan
  5. Prepare a poster and communicate its contents to an informed audience for a geoengineering application
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will equip our graduates with a wide range of skills including;

A good level of mathematical, analytical and modelling skills, using both industry standard and academic software packages.

Problem solving and practical hands on skills.

Capacity to evaluate complex data and to extrapolate conclusions from incomplete data.

Critical and reflective thinkers, some subsurface technologies are controversial and require expert knowledge to assess independently.

Organised with good project management skills and a flexible approach to work.

Skilled communicators, both oral and written

Ability to work well within a team.
KeywordsHydrogeology,geoengineering,numerical modelling,THMC,coupled process modelling,OGS
Course organiserDr Katriona Edlmann
Tel: (0131 6)50 7339
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Jones
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