Energy and Resource Management

ERPE Professor Mercedes M. Maroto-Valer BSc, PhD, FRSC, FRSE, FIChemE and Robert M Buchan Chair in Sustainable Engineering, Head of Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering (IMPEE) and Director of Energy Academy, has given a talk at the prestigious London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

The Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT) July 2015 issue includes a technology focus feature on reservoir simulation which discusses four recent papers published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Two of the four articles are based on recent research output from the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPE). JPT is disseminated to over 100,000 SPE members.

The NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (NERC CDT) took its message of collaborative research and training between academia, industry and regulators to its first international meeting by exhibiting at the 77th EAGE Conference & Exhibition held in Madrid, 1st-4th June 2015.

The latest findings from an ongoing project into community renewable energy will be presented at a conference in Findhorn near Inverness next week on 4 and 5 June 2015.

On Thursday 14 May the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh welcomed the Energy Academy and Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, as hosts of the first Heriot-Watt Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Awards 2015, supported by Scottish Energy News.

Leading oil and gas training provider Nautilus have agreed to support the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas, led by ERPE. The CDT in Oil and Gas focuses on creating a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors, as well as filling skills gaps in the oil and gas sector.

A system which could help keep the UK’s lights on and save the energy industry millions has been devised by a group of Heriot-Watt PhD students on a three month multi-disciplinary project.

Three ERPE professors are among the distinguished individuals elected to become Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Professor Mercedes Maroto Valer, Robert Buchan Professor of Sustainable Energy Engineering in Engineering, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS), Heriot-Watt University.

Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh welcome the outstanding results of REF2014 for the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPE). 94% of our overall research activity is world-leading or internationally excellent. This, combined with the number of academic staff involved, makes Edinburgh the UK powerhouse in Engineering.

The main contractor for the new Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, which will be the Scottish headquarters for the British Geological Survey (BGS) as well as a major joint BGS/Heriot-Watt University research centre for geological, petroleum and marine sciences, has been announced as Morrison Construction, part of Galliford Try plc.

A £9m Centre for Doctoral Training, which combines the very best of academic and industrial expertise to train the next generation of top level geoscience and environmental researchers in oil and gas, has been officially launched at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Campus by Stuart Edwards, Deputy Director Materials and Resource Industries at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Tuesday 14 October is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Ada Lovelace Day Podcast
To celebrate we have developed an Ada Lovelace Day podcast (16 mins) of staff and students sharing stories of STEM women who have inspired them.

Colleagues featured in this recording are:

How do we keep Scotland’s energy supply secure, affordable and sustainable? Can Scotland unilaterally abandon nuclear energy? Should we develop shale?

Heriot-Watt University will be the site of one of two unique new centres which will form the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).

IBiolC has raised a total of £2.7m to establish two bioprocessing centres that will contribute towards its aim to generate at least £1bn GVA for the Scottish economy by 2025.

Dr Florian Doster, ERPE Assistant Professor with the Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE), has returned from an extensive trip to the USA. He delivered his "Towards A Consistent Theoretical Framework for Multiphase Flow in Porous Media" keynote lecture at the biennial Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on "Flow & Transport in Permeable Media", held 6-11 July 2014, Lewiston, Maine.

Nearly 40 research leaders from Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey (BGS) came together last week at an inaugural 'Heriot-Watt -BGS Exchange Event' aimed at developing innovative ideas for research collaboration within their new, joint research institute – the Sir Charles Lyell Centre.

Scientists from the Carbonate Reservoir Group at ERPE under the leadership of Professor Sebastian Geiger have formed a 2.54M USD research partnership with colleagues at University of Calgary, Imperial College London and the Federal University of Pernambuco to develop a novel Rapid Reservoir Modelling (RRM) software that facilitates prototyping of complex reservoir models.

ERPE was represented at this two-day event by the Institute of Petroleum Engineering's Gas Condensate Recovery (GCR) research team. The team had a stand which was visited by a number of delegates, including Heriot-Watt alumni. The team also presented three papers.

Alessandro Mangione a PhD student studying at Heriot-Watt's Institute of Petroleum Engineering, has won one of the three Best Student Paper prizes at the 76th EAGE Conference & Exhibition 2014 for his Paper "Synthetic Diagenesis: The Key to Carbonate Systems in Basin Modelling".

This year's conference was held 16-19 June 2014, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Scientists from the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) research partnership, of which ERPE is a member, have competitively won a 20% share of a £2.57 million funding pot to carry out targeted research that will support the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK.

For the eighth consecutive year, researchers from the ERPE Energy Academy and the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University have collaborated with BP p.l.c. in the preparation of the data for their Statistical Review of World Energy.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, interviewed by Dr Gabriela Medero and Dr Aruna Ivaturi, will be sharing tales of her career to date; the highs and lows, the pivotal times, people who made a difference, key events and life stages.

Professor John Underhill received the Alfred Wegener Award from the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) at a ceremony in Amsterdam on June 16.

The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility has opened at Edinburgh University and is the first of its kind in the world.

Research Futures has hosted the first UK national EPSRC Engineering Roadshow for Early Career Researchers at the Postgraduate Centre at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus.

Senior academics from Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS), of which ERPE is a member, have welcomed a delegation from a leading Chinese design and construction company. Adrian Todd, Professor of Petroleum Engineering in ERPE, was among the senior experts who were debating the role of CCS in China’s power sector.

Current collaboration between the UK and Canada in the area of biochar as an effective way to capture CO2 has been strengthened by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ERPE Professor Raffaella Ocone at Heriot-Watt University (UK) and BioFuelNet Canada (BNF) and Bio-Char Network (Bio-Char) in Canada.

A joint industry project (JIP) to investigate mechanisms for creating a CO2-driven enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) industry in the North Sea has welcomed Shell as a new industry partner. CO2-EOR has the potential to bring benefits for the UK offshore industry by improving recovery from depleted oil fields using CO2 captured from power plants and industry.

Obinna Chudi, an ERPE PhD student at Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE), has won the prestigious Schlumberger global student competition for his abstract titled: “Integrating Basin Modelling and Advanced Petrophysical Analysis in Reservoir Quality Prediction of Unexplored Oligocene Reservoir-Offshore Niger Delta”.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis (CRITICAT) is a newly established research hub in Scotland for catalysis training and research. It comprises the combined chemistry and chemical engineering Schools of St Andrews, Edinburgh, and Heriot-Watt Universities and encompasses training and research in all aspects of catalysis.

This year's EAGE student lecture was on How to Manage Fractured Reservoir Modelling and it showed how to avoid potential pitfalls in over or under representing the complexity of a fracture network with some 'common sense' approaches to the accurate capture of dynamic behaviour.

Dr Nick Bennett attended Parliament at the House of Commons on Monday 17 March to present his engineering research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain.

Professors Mike Christie and Gary Couples along with Gordon Winton (Director of Business Development) hosted a visit from Prof. Julio Freitas and Prof Antonio Martinelli from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil on 12th March.

Brazil has created the "Science Without borders program" to stimulate worldwide research mobility.

Heriot-Watt Crucible, the highly successful leadership and development programme for research leaders of the future, has been run for the sixth time. Joining researchers from Heriot-Watt on the programme this time were participants from University of Edinburgh, British Geological Survey, Moredun Research Institute and Selex ES.

A first-year Heriot-Watt University student, Tarige Kamblawi, is looking to help UK households reduce water usage and energy bills, with an idea he has submitted to the Shell Ideas360 competition.

Eco Kettle
A video of Tarige discussing his Cordless Dual-Chambered Eco Kettle can be found here.

The new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), funded by NERC, will focus on creating a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors, as well as filling skills gaps in the oil and gas sector. This will equip the industry with the skills needed to reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration and extraction.

Ariel photograph of Offshore Gas and Oil Platform

The British Geological Survey (BGS) and Heriot-Watt University are joining forces to create a new centre for earth and marine science and technology.

Based at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus, the Sir Charles Lyell Centre will be one of Europe's leading centres for research and expertise in the earth and marine sciences.

BGS survey vessel White Ribbon under the Forth Rail Bridge

Heriot-Watt's Moscow Graduations took place on 18 October in the splendid surroundings of the British Ambassadors Residence in the heart of the city. The Congregation for the conferment of degrees was made up of students who were graduating from the Heriot-Watt University Master of Science courses in Petroleum Engineering and Reservoir Evaluation and Management.

Petroleum Engineering Students Graduating in Moscow

ERPE partner Institute of Petroleum Engineering

The Institute of Petroleum Engineering was established in 1975 to satisfy the industry's growing requirement for professional petroleum engineers. This was the year in which oil was first produced from the North Sea.


The Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering is a strategic alliance between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.
Working with academic and commercial partners we aim to deliver world leading research and expertise in engineering to the greatest commercial, social and economic impact and benefit through education and advancement in science and engineering.

Energy and Resource Management

The important ERPE contributions to wave tank design are:

  • Design of absorbing wavemakers [2] for the accurate, controlled generation of waves in test tanks
  • Implementation of a curved tank, with associated computer drive, to make more effective use of small facilities [1]
  • Design and construction of the world's first wave and current test tank facility [3]
Edinburgh Curved Wave and Current Tank Panorama

A team of engineers and computer scientists at ERPE has developed algorithms that help the petroleum industry extract more oil, more cost-effectively. In one North Sea field, a leading oil company has used ERPE technology to create a field development plan yielding three million more barrels of oil than their original plan.

Avoiding blockages caused by mineral scale deposits is a major priority for oil producers. Yet combating scale build-up to stop it jeopardising well productivity is complex and costly. ERPE research has saved the industry hundreds of millions of pounds with computer software - SQUEEZE - that enables companies to plan the best scale-inhibiting treatment from project outset.

Electrical Power Distribution Laboratory Research at Edinburgh University

Research Impacts

Professor Gareth Harrison has led development of a sophisticated suite of spatio-temporal meteorological, oceanographic and hydrological modelling tools for enhanced long-term resource characterisation and grid integration studies. This includes high resolution weather models, whose output underpins the Scottish Government’s Electricity Dispatch Model.

Research Aims

The technologies comprising the full CCS chain have the potential to significantly reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide and help tackle climate change as Europe and the rest of the world moves towards a low-carbon future.

Institute of Petroleum Engineering Schematic map image

Activity ranges from exploration to production technology. Research into "carbonate reservoirs" has focussed on increasing the recovery ratio and we are a founding member of the ExxonMobil Research Alliance "Fundamental Control of Flow in Carbonates". This collaboration includes nine European and one US universities.

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