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Research Themes - Enabling Technology

The ECOSSE enabling technology research theme is providing state-of-the art integrated International-standard facilities for supporting analytical, experimental and numerical research. A big challenge is the fact that carbonates and reservoir cap rocks are often difficult materials to handle and maintain experimental control at appropriate pressures and temperatures.

Directly funded:
ECOSSE funds support the development of experimental geoscience facilities at UoE to enable new strategic capability to underpin ecosse themes relating to hydrocarbons, carbonates, CO2 sequestration, aquifers, mineralization and geothermal systems. Development of enabling technology is overseen by Dr S. Elphick and Dr Ian Butler.
X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) Instrument.
· Installation of a 2m x 1m 1.75t granite surface table flat to ± 3μm. The table provides a reference surface for instrument positioning.
· Construction, wiring and installation of the cabinet to house all control electronics for the Feinfocus dual mode high resolution/brightness X-ray source.
· Preliminary linkage of software for sample motion and image capture for CT data acquisition achieved in Testpoint™.
· Design of mechanical components for motion control completed.
High Pressure Rock Physics Cell and Rig.
· A pressure vessel capable of working at 100MPa+ confining pressures has been designed and machined from maraging steel. The large vessel volume permits in situ instrumentation of rock samples during deformation experiments for acoustics and strain.
· The end plug for the vessel with 24 ports for fluid and electrical connections has been designed and machined.
· The gantry for sample loading/unloading and precise manoeuvring of the 70kg cell into its load frame has been installed.
· The specialist jacketing and gauging calipers for deformation measurement have been designed, and are under construction.

Facilitated developments:
ECOSSE Experimental Aqueous Geochemistry Laboratory
· Enabled by NERC grant NE/E003958/1, ECOSSE equipment support and a UoE Small Project Grant.
· Installation of all experimental equipment, including recirculating anoxic chamber and solid-state electrochemical analysis instrument completed June 2008.
ECOSSE Enabling Technology related projects 2008
· Award: “IMVUL – towards improved understanding of aquifer vulnerability”. EU Framework 7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network. Elphick, Butler, Ngwenya (UoE), MacDonald, Ball (BGS).
· Award: “Validation and verification of discrete fracture flow models for fractured carbonate rocks” EPSRC/Exxon-mobil case studentship. Geiger (HW), Elphick, Butler (UoE).
· Award: “CO2 SolStock – biobased geological CO2 storage”. EU Framework 7 Future Emerging Technologies Application. Ngwenya, Butler, Elphick, Wood, Haszeldine (UoE).

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