Edinburgh, United Kingdom



AGL (UK3.2)

Applied Geosciences Laboratory

The Applied Geosciences laboratory has a suite of experimental equipment for research into the secure and sustainable utilisation of the subsurface for low carbon energy applications. The equipment is designed to recreate the in-situ conditions of temperature, pressure and geochemistry along with multiphase fluid flow for depths up to 4km and has been used in a number of geoenergy applications including CO2 storage, hydraulic fracturing, geothermal and energy storage (compressed air and hydrogen)

The Applied Geoscience Laboratory has a number of facilities including:

The THMC Multiphase Flow Rig was designed and built to facilitate multi-phase flow through 38mm diameter cylindrical rock samples over a range of temperatures, fluid types, fluid pressures and confining stress equivalent to less than 4km depth. It also allows the injection of tracers and other such markers along with fluid sample collection post rock contact.

The equipment consists of a Hassler-type high-pressure vessel, which holds cylindrical rock samples of 38mm diameter and up to 80mm in length. The fluid pumps (both brine and CO2) are designed for high temperature, pressure and supercritical CO2 conditions and all wetting parts within the system are in 316 stainless steel or PEEK to limit corrosion. Injection is at the bottom of the sample to minimise slug flow and maximise the effects of buoyancy. The THMC Multiphase Flow Rig is rated to provide:

  • Up to 60MPa radial confining (σ2=σ3) pressure.

  • Up to 60MPa fluid pressure.

  • Up to 80oC rock temperature.

  • Up to 80oC injection fluid temperature.

  • Single and multiphase fluid flow including supercritical, liquid and gaseous CO2, hydrogen, nitrogen, water and brines.

  • Flow rates from 0.001ml/min to 20ml/min depending on pump type.

  • ISCO Syringe pumps with 100ml capacity

  • CP Class dual-headed, positive displacement piston pumps with constant pressure or flow rate control.

  • Upstream, downstream and differential pressure measurement and logging.

  • Fluid sampling

  • Full labview control and logging

  • 38mm diameter and up to 80mm length samples

The Low pressure 1meter Hydrogen / CO2 Flow Rig has being designed to combine with a Hiden HPR20 mass spectrometer to characterise the bulk flow properties of gasses through a 1m long sandstone core at around ambient pressure and temperature. Breakthrough curves can be used to determine: advective velocity; mechanical dispersion; molecular diffusion and sorption of hydrogen during mass transfer through porous reservoir sandstones.

The Hydrogen Flow Rig has been designed to provide:

  • 1m long, 38mm diameter fell sandstone core contained within gas tight foil, resin and stainless steel piping.

  • Up to 1MPa gas pressure.

  • Up to 60oC rock temperature.

  • Up to 60oC injection gas temperature.

  • Single and multiphase gas flow including hydrogen, nitrogen, noble gasses, SF6 tracer and CO2.

  • Flow rates from 0.01ml/min to 10ml/min.

  • Upstream, downstream and differential pressure measurement and logging.

  • Gas sampling by Hiden HPR20 mass spectrometer.

The Unconfined Fracturing Rig is designed to create hydraulic fractures in large (200mm diameter) rock samples

The Unconfined Fracturing Rig is rated to provide:

  • 200mm diameter and length samples

  • Up to 700 bar load

  • Up to 70MPa injection pore fluid pressure

  • Up to 60oC rock temperature.

  • Up to 60oC injection gas temperature

  • Pore pressure measurement and logging.

  • Gas sampling by Hiden HPR20 mass spectrometer.

The High Pressure and Temperature Batch Reaction Vessels were designed and constructed within the Applied Geoscience Laboratory at Edinburgh to undertake batch reactions at elevated pressures and temperatures. The equipment was designed to be filled with a mixture of rock and fluids (ratio variable by experimental design) and maintain pressurisation up to 15MPa and heated up to 80oC in an oven. Numerous batch reactors allow the simultaneous run of a control, a closed system batch reaction, and a batch reaction that allows the fluids to be repetitively sampled throughout the experiment duration.

The High Pressure and Temperature Batch Reaction Vessels are rated to provide:

  • 15MPa pressure

  • Up to 80oC temperature.

  • Wide variety of rock and fluid types

  • Fluid sampling for ICP analysis

State of the Art, uniqueness & specific advantages

The Applied GeoSciences has a number of state of the art facilities. The hydrogen flow rig is the first of its kind to facilitate flow of hydrogen through porous media at elevated pressure and temperature which will be of importance as hydrogen increasing plays a part in the transition to low carbon fuels.

The THMC Multiphase flow rig is unique, is fully adaptable to give control over temperature, fluid type, fluid pressure and confining stress up to the equivalent of 4km depth. It is fully adapted to work with supercritical CO2 flow which will be of interest to researchers working in CCUS.

Scientific Environment

The Applied Geosciences laboratory is located in the School of Geosciences at The University of Edinburgh with acess to the world class analytical facilities https://www.ed.ac.uk/geosciences/facilities

Operating by

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh
United Kingdom
STORAGE technologies:
Pressure/injection, Migration, Caprock/well integrity, Leakage mitigation/remediation, Reactivity/mineralisation, Leakage, Static modelling, Dynamic modelling
TRANSPORT technologies:
Security/troubleshooting, Fluid characterisation, Flow Characterisation, Material testing, CO2 pipeline transport and integrity
Research Fields:
Fluid dynamics, Chemistry/Geochemistry, Geology/Geophysics, Mechanics/Geomechanics, Monitoring, Material science, Modelling, Physical processes, Thermodynamics
Facility's fact sheet

Location & Contacts

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Katriona Edlmann
RICC Contacts - Secondary contact
Philippa Parmiter

Facility Availability

Unit of access (UA)
Availability per year (in UA)
6 weeks
Duration of a typical access (average) and number of external users expected for that access
3 weeks
Average number of external users expected for typical access

Quality Control / Quality Assurance (QA)

Activities / tests / data are
State of Quality: Full risk assessment will be undertaken prior to any work in the laboratory and will comply with all UK health and safety regulations.

Operational or other constraints

Specific risks:
None if full health and safety compliance is undertaken
Legal issues

CCUS Projects

EU-Funded CCUS Projects
Other CCUS Projects

Selected Publications

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. (2021)
Hydrogen Storage in Saline Aquifers: The Role of Cushion Gas for Injection and Production.
N.Heinemann, J.Scafidi, G.Pickup, E.M.Thaysen, A.Hassanpouryouzband, M.Wilkinson, A.K.Satterley, M.G.Booth, K.Edlmann, and R.S.Haszeldine.
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Volume 151. (2021)
Estimating microbial growth and hydrogen consumption in hydrogen storage in porous media.
Thaysen, E.M, McMahon, S., StrobelbIan, G.J., Butler, I.B., Ngwenya, B.T., Heinemann, N., Wilkinson, M., Hassanpouryouzband, A., McDermott, C.I. and Edlmann, K.
ACS Energy Letters (2021)
Offshore geological storage of hydrogen: Is this our best option to achieve net-zero?
Hassanpouryouzband, E. Joonaki, K. Edlmann and R. Stuart Haszeldine.
Rock Mech Rock Eng 54, 3977–3994 (2021)
Modelling Rock Fracture Induced by Hydraulic Pulses.
Xun Xi, Shangtong Yang, Christopher I. McDermott, Zoe K. Shipton, Andrew FraserHarris & Katriona Edlmann
Applied Energy. (2021)
Mapping geological hydrogen storage capacity and regional heating demands: An applied UK case study.
Mouli-Castillo, J., Heinemann N, Edlmann K.
Journal of Hydrology (2021)
Understanding the interplay of capillary and viscous forces in CO2 core flooding experiments.
Xiaoqiang Jin, Cong Chao, Katriona Edlmann, Xianfeng Fan.
ACS Energy Lett. 2022, 7, 2203–2210. (2022)
Geological Hydrogen Storage: Geochemical Reactivity of Hydrogen with Sandstone Reservoirs.
Aliakbar Hassanpouryouzband, Kate Adie, Trystan Cowen, Eike M. Thaysen, Niklas Heinemann, Ian B. Butler, Mark Wilkinson, and Katriona Edlmann.