Scotland finalist - Shima Ghanaatian

Shima graduated from the Petroleum University of Technology (PUT) in Iran with a 1st Class Bachelors in Chemical Engineering in 2013. In 2015, she joined Hydrafact Ltd in Edinburgh, UK, where she was mainly involved with corrosion studies in the oil and gas industry. Continuing her passion for addressing global warming challenges and following her win of the prestigious James-Watt Scholarship, she undertook a PhD in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of UK industrial decarbonisation champion, Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS). Here, she currently focuses on carbon storage in geological formations. She is heavily involved in the MILEPOST project, where her research study unravelled the CO2 reactive flow drivers at multi-scale (pore to core) during the CO2 sequestration process. 

Shima has published numerous peer-reviewed Journal articles and conference papers, and her innovative study of CO2 geological storage monitoring is internationally recognised and has achieved commendation through multiple prizes/awards. She has been awarded the EPSRC Travel Grant, the EXPO&more Workshop Grant and Best PhD Student Presenter Award, the latest at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, UK. Her research studies have been presented at a number of international conferences, most recently the Trondheim CO2 Capture and Storage (TCCS) Conference in Norway in June 2019.

Outside of her project, Shima really enjoys teaching and lab demonstrating for chemical engineering undergraduate students. She wishes to integrate her love for the outdoors with clean atmosphere and sustainable development in her future profession.

Can we securely store CO2 in geological formations to address the global warming challenge

The injection of CO2 in geological formations, e.g. sandstone and carbonate formations, disrupts the equilibrium among the resident phases and causes geochemical changes. Determining safe storage of CO2 in aquifers significantly depends on understanding how fluid phases interact with the porous structure of rocks. Therefore, we investigated the reactivity of CO2-saturated brine with different ionic strengths in contact with sandstone at pressure and temperature conditions representative of storage sites. In this work, we employed a systematic combination of different techniques, including hydrothermal tests, ICP-OES, X-ray diffractometer, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (ESEM-EDS), Micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) scanning to address the extremely intricate phenomena of flow, transport and reactions occurring over various temporal and spatial scales in sandstone reservoir rocks. The information gained from this study will allow us to build a better understanding of the dominant drivers of CO2 reactive transport in porous media during CO2 storage.

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