|Director, Shell-Imperial Digital Rocks Lab|
|2014-15||President, Institution of Chemical Engineers|
|2013-14||Deputy President, Institution of Chemical Engineers|
|2008-14||Director, Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre|
|2006-11||Director, Shell Grand Challenge Programme on Clean Fossil Fuels|
|2005-||Professor of Energy Engineering, Imperial College London|
|1993-2005||Visiting Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London|
|2001-2005||Research Director, Schlumberger Cambridge Research|
|1998-2001||Scientific Advisor to Managing Director, Schlumberger Cambridge Research|
|1996-98||Chemistry Metier Manager, Schlumberger-Riboud Product Centre, Clamart, Paris, France|
|1988-95||Head of Department, Oilfield Fluid Engineering, Schlumberger Cambridge Research|
|1985-88||Senior Research Scientist/Programme Leader, Schlumberger Cambridge Research|
|1983-86||Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Imperial College, London|
|1979-81||Industrial Research Scientist , I.C.I. Petrochemicals and Plastics Division (Secondment from Imperial College London)|
|1974-83||Lecturer in Applied Polymer Science, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Imperial College London|
|1972-74||I.C.I. Research Fellow, Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Bristol|
|1969-72|| D.Phil., Physical Chemistry, Oxford University
Salters' Scholar, and Senior Scholar St. Catherine's College
|1965-69||M.A., First Class Honours, Chemistry, St Catherine’s College, Oxford|
Geoffrey C Maitland CBE FREng
Geoff Maitland is Professor of Energy Engineering at Imperial College London and a Past President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (2014-15). His career has spanned academia and industry, spending 20 years in oil and gas with Schlumberger and over 20 years at Imperial, first as a young lecturer from 1974 and then from 2005 in his current post. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University where he also obtained his doctorate in Physical Chemistry. After a period as an ICI Research Fellow at Bristol University, he was appointed to a lectureship in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College in 1974. His research focused on molecular interactions and the transport properties of fluids, including polymer systems. He spent a secondment with ICI Plastics Division from 1979-81 and became a senior lecturer in 1983. In 1986 he moved to the oil and gas industry with Schlumberger, where he carried out research in oilfield fluids engineering, including the use of colloidal systems for well construction, reservoir stimulation and production enhancement. He held a number of senior technical and research management positions in Cambridge and Paris, most recently as a Research Director. He rejoined Imperial College in September 2005 as Professor of Energy Engineering and his current research is now centred on how we can continue to use fossil fuels for most of this century without causing catastrophic climate change, particularly through carbon capture and storage (CCUS). He has chaired several CCUS public reports and been a member of the 2018 UK Government CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce.
Geoff is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Energy Institute. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was awarded the Hutchison Medal by the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1998 and served as President of the British Society of Rheology from 2002-2005. He was awarded the IChemE Chemical Engineering Envoy Award for 2010 for his media work explaining the engineering issues involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill. In 2011 he chaired the independent review of the UK Offshore Oil and Gas Regulatory Regime (‘The Maitland Report’), received the Rideal Lecture Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012 and was awarded the Leverhulme Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry in 2017. In 2021 he was awarded the IChemE Ambassador Award and the RSC Exceptional Service Award. He is the Founding Director of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre, a $70M 10 year academic-industry research programme based at Imperial College London, and of the Shell-Imperial Digital Rocks Lab. As well as continuing to work with IChemE, he was a Trustee of RAEng from 2017-2020, chairing the Audit and Risk Committee, and Chair of the RSC Publications Board and RSC Trustee from 2016-2020. He was appointed CBE in 2019 for services to Chemical Engineering.
The common thread running through my research interests over the years has been the links between interactions at the molecular/colloidal level and the bulk properties of materials. This started with the thermophysical properties of simple molecular fluids but moved on to polymer dynamics, rheology and reactors in the 1970s. On joining Schlumberger in 1986, I initiated research in oilfield fluids engineering, including the use of colloidal systems for well construction, reservoir stimulation and production enhancement. Amongst the my areas of interest in this period were the physical properties of complex fluids and soft solids, and their relation to colloidal interactions and structure, the chemomechanics of shale clayrocks and clay compacts, the chemical characterisation of muticomponent complex fluids, chemical mechanisms and chemomechanics of hydrating cements, responsive gelling fluids and their flow in fractures/porous media, reservoir fluid monitoring and real-time reservoir management approaches. I still retain an interest in the rheology of mixed-colloid suspensions and gels and their industrial applications.
My current research, established when I moved back to Imperial College London in 2005, centres on finding answers to the question ‘How can we continue to use fossil fuels for most of this century (as I believe we must) without causing catastrophic climate change?’. The work aims to provide solutions for managing the transition from oil, gas and coal to more sustainable, renewable energy sources and vectors. Read issue 869 of The Chemical Engineer for my overall vision of how we can build a clean fossil fuels future to give us time to develop affordable, high capacity, renewable zero CO2 emission energy systems later in this century.
The research is built around four main themes:
(a) Carbon Capture and Storage
I am the founding Director of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre, QCCSRC, a 10 year (2008-2018) $70m research programme sponsored by Qatar Petroleum, Shell and Qatar Science and Technology Park. This aimed to provide the underpinning science and engineering to optimise the design of safe and secure CO2 injection and storage processes into the fractured carbonate reservoirs of the Middle East and elsewhere. It had activities on understanding the geology, structure and geochemistry of carbonate reservoirs; measuring and predicting the thermodynamic and transport properties of CO2 mixed with the hydrocarbon and brine fluids it encounters within the storage reservoirs, and with impurities such as H2S and SO2, under high temperature, high pressure (HPHT) reservoir conditions; the reaction of supercritical CO2 and its aqueous solutions with carbonate rock minerals; the multiphase flow of CO2-brine-hydrocarbon fluids within porous and fractured carbonate reservoirs, studied experimentally (including state-of-the-art CT imaging facilities) and with modelling at the pore, core and reservoir scales; the integration and upscaling of these processes into advanced reservoir simulators for site selection, design and optimisation of carbon storage processes; evaluation of the understanding and methodologies developed in the programme using field-scale demonstration projects.
My own research, both in the programme and ongoing, focuses on the experimental measurement of the relevant themophysical properties of CO2-brine-hydrocarbon fluids under HPHT reservoir conditions and the use of such data to calibrate, validate and use molecular-based equations of state and transport property models to enable the properties of fluid mixtures of arbitrary composition to be predicted as a function of temperature and pressure as they move through a reservoir. In this work I collaborate closely with Professor J P Martin Trusler, Professor George Jackson, Professor Amparo Galindo and Professor Velisa Vesovic. The main properties of interest are:
- Vapour-liquid phase behaviour
- Interfacial tension and fluid-mineral contact angles
- Transport properties: viscosity and diffusion
- Mineral-CO2 reaction kinetics
Click here to see more details of the Thermophysics Lab.
We worked with other groups within QCCSRC on how the data and predictive models for these properties may be incorporated into pore-scale models and reservoir simulators for CO2 storage design.
QCCSRC was preceded by the Shell-Imperial Grand Challenge, a 5 year, £3m programme on the science and engineering of CO2 storage in sandstone reservoirs and unmined coal seams. The understanding developed in this programme continues to be built upon in QCCSRC.
QCCSRC was succeeded in 2016 by the Shell-Imperial Digital Rocks Programme. I was the Director of Phase 1, which ran from 2016 to 2021, a multi-million dollar, 5 year collaboration between Shell Global Solutions International BV and Imperial. The programme aims to revolutionise the way reservoirs are characterised and how CO2 storage, gas injection and oil and gas recovery processes are designed. Phase 2 started in 2021 and runs through to 2024.
The programme uses a range of expertise, experience and research focused on rock-fluid imaging techniques linked to modelling at multiple length scales. The research is organised under three integrated themes:
Pore-Scale Imaging and Simulation of Pore-Scale Flow Wettability - Measurements and Modification Molecular Modelling of Rock-Fluid Interactions
involving 11 Academic Staff from 4 Departments: Chemical
Engineering, Earth Science and Engineering, Chemistry and
Materials, with 8 PhD Students, 2 Post-Docs and 1 Experimental Officer
I am also interested in developing more efficient and cost-effective carbon capture processes and collaborate with Dr Paul Fennell in a number of areas, including
- Improved amine-based mixed-solvent capture systems
- Use of calcium looping systems in pyrolysis and combustion of biomass
(b) Understanding and exploiting the use of gas hydrates
I am interested in better understanding the thermodynamics and kinetics of gas hydrate formation, through both experimental and modelling studies at the elevated pressures and low temperatures at which naturally occurring hydrates exist or synthetic gas hydrates can be formed, either during gas recovery and transportation operations or as a means to separate or store gases. Techniques used to study gas hydrate phase behaviour, nucleation and growth and gas exchange include micro-DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry), a customised stirred autoclave with optical window and Raman spectroscopy and 3D imaging.
The formation and decomposition of methane hydrates have been studied in detail using different aqueous precursors: bulk water, micronised ice and 'Dry Water', a Pickering emulsion of 100 micron-sized water droplets stabilised using hydrophobic nanoparticles which contain about 95 wt% water but flows like a solid powder. These studies have demonstrated that modifying water precursor structure can dramatically increase gas hydrate formation rates and yields. The effect of pore confinement and surface wettability on hydrate phase behaviour has also been studied, mimicking in model systems the type of conditions that hydrates form in subsurface mineral sediments.
This improved understanding of the dynamics of hydrate formation, dissociation and guest gas exchange is being used to explore and design processes which exploit gas hydrates for a range of applications, including:
- Injection of CO2 into natural CH4 hydrates to store CO2 in the subsurface (as part of CCS) and tap into the vast reserves of methane available in gas hydrates as a source of the cleanest fossil fuel needed (again with CCS) as a source of blue hydrogen and syngas during the energy transition towards net-zero carbon emissions;
- Separation of close boiling point gas mixtures, such as propane-propene, with a much lower energy requirement and carbon footprint than traditional cryogenic distillation methods;
- Storage of large volumes of gases, particularly hydrogen, in solid form as an alternative to liquefaction or high pressure tanks, for transportation and applications such as fuel cells.
(c) Combining CO2 storage with enhanced gas recovery and low-carbon footprint subsurface processing for hydrogen and syngas production
My research is seeking ways to recover and utilise hydrocarbons, including non-conventional resources, in ways that provide gas required for engineering an affordable and equitable energy transition, which minimise the energy input required and the CO2 emissions from the processes. The areas covered include:
- Subsurface processing of residual oil in depleted conventional reservoirs as well as heavy oil and oil shales, combined with in situ carbon capture and storage, to produce only hydrogen and syngas as surface products;
- The production of non-conventional gas (gas hydrates, shale gas) using CO2 injection to enhance methane production before being sequestered in the producing formation. The principal use of the produced methane will be for cleaner power production and provision of 'blue' hydrogen via steam methane reforming, both processes being decarbonised using CCS.
(d) Renewable production of hydrogen using green algae and cyanobacteria
The aim of developing low/zero-emission fossil fuel processes is to provide low carbon, cost-effective energy in sufficient amounts to meet growing global demand until renewable, sustainable sources of energy, fuels, chemicals and materials become available at sufficient scale and affordable cost to take over. The most likely long-term source of global energy will be solar, where capturing but a small fraction of the energy reaching the earth’s surface will meet all our energy needs on a continuing basis. As well as converting solar radiation to electrons for electricity supply, it may also be directly converted to fuels and chemicals. My research is this area, carried out in collaboration with Dr Klaus Hellgardt, has been investigating processes for the direct production of hydrogen (as a zero-carbon fuel or energy vector) from water using sunlight and the enzymatic conversion pathways embedded in natural micro-organisms such as green algae and cyanobacteria. The work investigates both the underlying mechanisms and the design of photo-bioreactors at different scales to explore the possibility of large-scale commercial hydrogen production processes based on this approach. Click here for more information on solar routes to hydrogen.
- Shell Grand Challenge
- Physical Properties and Analytics Laboratory
- Energy Futures Lab
- Carbon Capture and Storage Research Group
- Solar routes to hydrogen
- Energy/Sustainability Driven Chemical Engineering Theme
- Molecular/Material Driven Chemical Engineering Theme
- Multi-scale Driven Chemical Engineering Theme
et al., 2021, A shortcut pressure swing adsorption analogue model to estimate gas-in-place and CO2 storage potential of gas shales, Fuel, Vol:301, ISSN:0016-2361, Pages:1-13
et al., 2021, Phase behaviour of methane hydrates in confined media, Crystals, Vol:11, ISSN:2073-4352, Pages:1-16
et al., 2020, Pressurized <i>In Situ</i> CO<sub>2</sub> Capture from Biomass Combustion <i>via</i> the Calcium Looping Process in a Spout-Fluidized-Bed Reactor, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol:59, ISSN:0888-5885, Pages:8571-8580
et al., 2020, Relationship between wetting and capillary pressure in a crude oil/brine/rock system: From nano-scale to core-scale, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol:562, ISSN:0021-9797, Pages:159-169
et al., 2018, Carbon capture and storage (CCS): the way forward, Energy & Environmental Science, Vol:11, ISSN:1754-5692, Pages:1062-1176
et al., 2017, The role of CO2 capture and utilization in mitigating climate change, Nature Climate Change, Vol:7, ISSN:1758-678X, Pages:243-249
Maitland GC, 2016, Carbon Capture and Storage: concluding remarks., Faraday Discussions, Vol:192, ISSN:1364-5498, Pages:581-599
et al., 2016, Interfacial tensions of systems comprising water, carbon dioxide and diluent gases at high pressures: experimental measurements and modelling with SAFT-VR Mie and square-gradient theory, Fluid Phase Equilibria, Vol:407, ISSN:0378-3812, Pages:159-176
et al., 2012, Interfacial Tension of (Brines + CO<sub>2</sub>): (0.864 NaCl+0.136 KCl) at Temperatures between (298 and 448) K, Pressures between (2 and 50) MPa, and Total Molalities of (1 to 5) mol.kg<SUP>-1</SUP>, Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data, Vol:57, ISSN:0021-9568, Pages:1078-1088
et al., 2010, Interfacial tension measurements and modelling of (carbon dioxide plus <i>n</i>-alkane) and (carbon dioxide plus water) binary mixtures at elevated pressures and temperatures, Journal of Supercritical Fluids, Vol:55, ISSN:0896-8446, Pages:743-754
et al., 2009, Viscosity and density of carbon dioside + 2,6,10,15,19,23-Hexamethyltetracosane (Squalane), J.chem.eng.data, Vol:54, Pages:2436-2443
et al., 2008, Rheology modification in mixed shape colloidal dispersions. Part II: mixtures, Soft Matter, Vol:4, ISSN:1744-683X, Pages:337-348