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Seismic responses to fluid injection

There is immense potential to use our underground environment in a responsible manner as we move towards a net zero carbon society. For example, deep rock formations can store captured CO2 emissions, and there is increasing flexibility in the ways that geothermal energy can be recovered.

However, our move towards these technologies should be made carefully since we need to reliably predict how the ground will react, especially given the difficulty of gathering a full picture of conditions at large depths.

This project will improve our fundamental understanding of the interplays between fluid injection and the induced microseismicity and permeability evolution of fractured rocks.

Laboratory experiments will be carried out to study the behaviour of critically stressed fractures under fluid injection, with any slippage being monitored by direct block deformation measurements in each direction, and by Acoustic Emission (AE) monitoring.

The research programme will extend this study via numerical modelling towards linking the geomechanical behaviour of fault reactivation with fluid injection.

Geomechanical behaviour during fracture slip will include the fracture opening and closure, and the shear displacement with any associated shear dilation. The flow regime and the global induced seismicity and permeability of the model domain will be investigated towards an improved understanding of injection-induced seismicity and interactions between fractures.

Outcomes from this project will lead to more accurate prediction and reduced risk of induced microseismicity, currently of practical importance to industry and public stakeholders for the development of geothermal energy and CO2 sequestration, as well as being a topic of significant interest to the general public.


Geothermal fluid circulation in fractured rock
Geothermal fluid circulation in fractured rock



Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Lee Hosking - Lee is a Lecturer in Geo-environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. As a member of the Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering (GEE) research group, he specialises in the numerical modelling of geo-energy engineering technologies, such as geological CO2 sequestration and unconventional geothermal energy recovery. Before joining Brunel University London at the start of 2020, Lee was a Research Associate at the Geoenvironmental Research Centre, Cardiff University, where he led the £1.3M CO₂ sequestration work package of the £24 million FLEXIS energy systems research project (2015-2020). He received his PhD from Cardiff University in 2014, having graduated with a First Class (Hons) MEng degree in Civil Engineering, also from Cardiff University. His research centres on investigating the coupled thermal, hydraulic, mechanical, and chemical behaviour of deep geo-energy systems, including in fractured reservoirs, adopting dual porosity and discrete fracture network (DFN) modelling approaches. More recently, he has expanded his research to consider the interplays between fluid injection and induced microseismicity, of practical importance to industry and public stakeholders for the development of unconventional geothermal energy systems, as well as being a topic of significant interest to the general public. This research is conducted in collaboration with China University of Mining and Technology with funding from The Royal Society. Lee is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Deep Underground Science and Engineering, an Academic Member of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC), a Member of the British Geotechnical Association (BGA), and a Member of the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM). Lee is always looking for talented and motivated PhD students as well as new collaborators for research projects.

Related Research Group(s)

about us

Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering - Delivering a new understanding of our geo-environment and critical infrastructure in diverse ecosystems, for predicting and preventing catastrophic failure and responding to the need for decarbonisation and energy security.

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Project last modified 19/10/2021