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Novel technologies for increasing coal seam permeability

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 31, 2018
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Extraction of coal seam gas (CSG) is now a multi-billion dollar export industry in Australia, providing jobs and revenue for many decades. Technologies for increasing the permeability of coal have become necessary for commercially viable CSG extraction in Australia. Currently available methods arise from the conventional gas industry, are problematic for coal, and fail to capitalise on coal’s existing fracture network. This project aims to develop a range of new technologies that are tailored to the properties of the coal, avoid environmental impact, and achieve enhanced and sustained gas production. These technologies are expected to assist the growth of Australia’s CSG industry into a reliable and cost-competitive supplier.

The University of Queensland (UQ) has a strong and internationally-focussed research culture, and is currently ranked in the top 1% of world universities in three widely-publicised international University ranking systems. This project will reside in the Centre for Coal Seam Gas and Schools of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences. The project brings together Dr Karen Steel, Prof Anh Nguyen and Prof Joan Esterle as Chief Investigators who all have extensive experience in strategic coal science research focused on gaining mechanistic understanding in a variety of coal utilisation scenarios, and have considerable experience working with and delivering to industry partners. The industry partners for the project are Santos, Arrow Energy and APLNG.

The PhD candidate will use our in-house permeability rigs to study a number of different stimulation treatments applied to coal cores with a view to identifying the most effective in terms of increasing permeability and developing an understanding of the fundamental physical/chemical mechanisms giving rise to permeability changes. They will use our advanced X-ray micro-CT characterisation methods to gain new insights into the properties of the coal that are dictating the permeability measures obtained.

The PhD candidate will play an active role in the presentation and dissemination of research results to both the industry partners and the wider scientific and industrial communities both in Australia and overseas. The multi-disciplinary nature of this research means that the candidate will develop a wide variety of new skills within the fields of Petroleum/Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences.

This project is suited to students with an undergraduate degree in the fields of Chemical, Petroleum or Mechanical Engineering, or related discipline, or in Geology, Earth Sciences or Chemistry. The requirements around micro-CT analysis also makes this project suitable for a student with a degree in applied Mathematics, or related discipline. Students should have a strong interest in the development of new technologies for industry. It is preferred that candidates have or are expected to obtain Honours class I or IIA.

The PhD scholarship is valued at AUD30,000 per annum tax free for 3.5 years with the opportunity to increase based on performance evaluation.

To discuss this role please contact Dr Karen Steel on +61 7 33653977 or .

To submit an application please send a cover letter and CV to Dr Karen Steel via email () with “CSG PhD Scholarship” in the subject box.

Submissions should be made no later than December 31, 2018.

Funding Notes

The PhD scholarship is valued at AUD30,000 per annum tax free for 3.5 years with the opportunity to increase based on performance evaluation.

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