Mark Wilkinson

DR.

Personal profile

Research Interests

Underground hydrogen storage, to act as a buffer between intermittent renewable sources of energy (e.g. wind turbines) and fluctuating consumer demand, to power the energy transition.

  • Will there be unwanted chemical reactions when we inject hydrogen into underground reservoirs for storage? These reactions might consume (expensive) hydrogen, or add undesirable impurities such as hydrogen sulphide gas.
  • Where will the storage sites be developed?
  • How much storage do we need?

Geological CO2 storage - injection of CO2 deep underground to keep it out of the atmosphere, to reduce climate change

  • Natural analogues can to answer what will happen to CO2 when it is injected into a rock over 10's of thoudands of years (longer than we can run experiments for and as calibration for digital models). I study real rocks that have been exposed to real CO2 for really long periods of tinme (millions of years)
  • Safe disposal of water produced during storage operations
  • What to do if a leak develops (which it probably won't)

Diagenesis, or what happens to sediments as they are buried and turn into rocks. In practice I study reservoirs, for CO2 and hydrogen storage, or water supply

  • Do sandstones and shales interact during burial? In other words, do solutes (e.g. K, Al, Si) move from sands into shales or vice-versa? With PhD student Felix Xia
  • White trap is an unusual alteration product of basic magmas when they are intruded into the local Carboniferous rocks. Why does this happen?

Clay minerals - these form tiny (micron-sized) crystals that are vital for the formation of soils, and that give soils many of their properties that we rely on, e.g. nutrient retention. Yet the limit to crystal size isn't understood. 

There were dinosaurs on what we now call tbe Isle of Skye (it wasn't an island then, and it wasn't on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean as this hadn't openned). What was the environment like where they lived? We can work this out from the sediments in which we find footprints (which are quite common) and fossil bones and teeth (which are not!).

 

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