Keyworth, Nottingham, UK, United Kingdom


TPRL (UK1.1)

Transport Properties Research Laboratory

Focus is on multi-phase flow in natural and engineered, low and ultra-low permeability geomaterials (e.g. caprocks, well bore cements, halite and engineered clays), and their associated deformation behaviour. Measurements include: saturation and consolidation properties; intrinsic permeability (or transmissivity); anisotropy; specific storage; coupled flow parameters (e.g. osmotic permeability); capillary entry, breakthrough and threshold pressures; gas permeability function; drained and undrained compressibilities; and rheological (creep) properties. Laboratory experiments are performed under simulated in situ conditions (stress, pore pressure, temperature and chemical environment). Three key areas explored are: (i) baseline characterisation of hydromechanical properties, (ii) influence of stress path and stress history on transport properties and (iii) transmissivity of fractures, faults and discontinuities (e.g., wellbore interfaces). Tests are designed to provide quantitative data for mathematical modelling of ultra-low permeability materials, together with process understanding of key transport mechanisms. Key equipment includes: high pressure isotropic permeameters (70 MPa); constant volume permeameters (70 MPa); high pressure triaxial permeameter (70 MPa); heavy-duty, high-precision shear-rigs; high temperature, high pressure geochemical flow reactor (130 MPa at 140°C); and novel tracer systems (nano particle injection or radiological tagging of gas) to characterise and identify potential migration pathways.

State of the Art, uniqueness & specific advantages

The TPRL is one of the leading centres in Europe for the study of fluid movement in ultra-low permeability media. The facility is well known within the radioactive waste disposal and carbon capture and storage sectors for high quality experimental work and process-based interpretation. Unique BGS-manufactured equipment and experimental systems provide high-resolution and high accuracy data. Physical properties are routinely examined in ultra-low permeability materials (~1x10-22 m2 and lower). Capability in deformation and fluid flow relevant to CCS consists of a blend of standard and bespoke equipment with more than 15 experimental rigs. These allow stress states and temperature to be simulated across expected in situ reservoir conditions. Tests can be conducted with pure water, brine, helium, carbon dioxide (gaseous, liquid, super critical and saturated solution) and nitrogen. Data is collected using a state-of-the-art National Instrument logging system and tests can be monitored and operated by remote control online.

Scientific Environment

The TPRL has a long track-record of involvement in many national (NERC, EPSRC, government) and international collaborative projects, working with academics and operators across Europe, Canada and Asia (including RWML, SKB, Nagra, Andra, JAEA, NWMO, COVRA; Shell, Statoil, KPN, BP etc.). The laboratory operators have a wide-reaching scientific impact, coordinating large-scale projects and publishing widely as a result. Complimentary services available to the laboratory include sample preparation, geotechnical characterisation, thin section preparation and petrological/microstructural analysis.

Operating by


British Geological Survey, Natural Environment Research Council
United Kingdom
STORAGE technologies:
Pressure/injection, Migration, Caprock/well integrity, Leakage mitigation/remediation, Leakage
Research Fields:
Fluid dynamics, Chemistry/Geochemistry, Microbiology, Geology/Geophysics, Mechanics/Geomechanics, Physical processes
Facility's fact sheet

Location & Contacts

Keyworth, Nottingham, UK, United Kingdom
Robert Cuss
RICC Contacts - Secondary contact
Audrey Ougier-Simonin /Simon Gregory

Facility Availability

Unit of access (UA)
Availability per year (in UA)
Min 1 month
Duration of a typical access (average) and number of external users expected for that access
1 month minimum

Quality Control / Quality Assurance (QA)

Activities / tests / data are
Controlled: ISO 9001:2015
Institution QA Webpages

Operational or other constraints

Specific risks:
All risks associated with operating laboratory equipment are covered in the TPRL working protocols and associated risk assessments which are provided to laboratory users.
Legal issues

CCUS Projects

EU-Funded CCUS Projects
CO2GeoNet – Network of excellence on geological sequestration of CO2
CASTOR – CO2, from capture to storage; FP6-SUSTDEV
ULTimateCO2 – Understanding the long-term fate of geological stored CO2
Other CCUS Projects
BigCCS – International CCS Research Centre
EPSRC funded
CONTAIN – The impact of hydrocarbon depletion on the treatment of caprocks within performance assessment for CO2 injection schemes
FORGE – Fate of repository gases;
MEGAS – Modelling and experiments on gas migration in repository host rocks
NF-PRO – Understanding and physical and numerical modelling of the key processes in the near-field and their coupling for different host rocks and repository strategies
COVRA funded
OPERA (OnderzoeksProgramma Eindberging Radioactief Afval) is the Dutch research programme on geological disposal of radioactive waste
EPSRC funded
EPSRC IMAGES – Integrated, market-fit and affordable grid-scale energy storage

Selected Publications

Journal of Structural Geology, 109, 86-98. (2018)
An experimental study of the influence of stress history on fault slip during injection of supercritical CO2.
Cuss, R.J., Wiseall, A.C., Tamayo-Mas, E. and Harrington, J.F.
Marine and Petroleum Geology, 93, 391-408. (2018)
Stress controls on transport properties of the Mercia Mudstone Group: importance for depletion and CO2 injection.
Harrington, J.F., Graham, C.C., Tamayo-Mas, E. and Parkes, D.
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 102, pp.15-27. (2018)
Yield envelope assessment as a preliminary screening tool to determine carbon capture and storage viability in depleted southern north-sea hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Dobbs, M.R., Cuss, R.J., Ougier-Simonin, A., Parkes, D., and Graham, C.C.
International Journal of Engineering Science, 131, pp.61-79. (2018)
On modelling of consolidation processes in geological materials.
Tamayo-Mas, E., Harrington, J.F. and Graham, C.C.,
In: Rutter, E. H., Mecklenburgh, J. & Taylor, K. G. (eds) Geomechanical and Petrophysical Properties of Mudrocks. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 454., (2017)
Gas transport properties through intact and fractured Callovo-Oxfordian mudstones.
Harrington, J.F., Cuss, R.C. and Talandier, J.
Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 98, 103057 (2020)
Caprock integrity and public perception studies of carbon storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs
Paluszny, A., Graham, C.C., Daniels, K.A., Tsaparli, V., Xenias, D., Salimzadeh, S., Whitmarsh, L., Harrington, J.F. and Zimmerman, R.W.,