Center for experimental study of subsurface environmental processes

Research Spotlight

Laboratory investigation of geological storage of carbon dioxide

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) represents a strategy to stabilize, and eventually reduce, the net CO2 loading to the atmosphere from large stationary sources such as coal-fired power plants. The goal of this research is to understand the effect of natural geological heterogeneity on migration and stable entrapment of supercritical carbon dioxide within deep saline repositories. In order to reproduce flow settings typical of depths >800 m we conduct displacement experiments in a variety of porous media with surrogate fluids at atmospheric conditions. X-ray attenuation analysis enables the quantification of spatial and temporal distribution of residually trapped pseudo-CO2 within the reservoir.

Student Opportunities

If you are interested in becoming a member of our team as an undergraduate, graduate student, postdoctoral scholar, or even as a high school intern please feel free to inquire with Dr. Tissa Illangasekare or Dr. Kathleen Smits directly. Information about admission to the MS or PhD programs can be found at the Civil and Environmental Engineering or the Hydrology Program sites.

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Research at CESEP is undertaken to enhance the protection of water and environmental quality through experimental, numerical and theoretical investigation of complex subsurface systems and their interaction with surface and atmospheric systems. We utilize knowledge from diverse disciplines to provide a broad and thorough understanding of environmental and hydrologic processes, integrating both fundamental and applied sciences to help solve problems that are of importance to society in general and to governmental and industrial sectors. In addition to addressing problems that can do greater good for our community, our goal is to train and produce researchers and students with an appreciation and understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of issues of earth, water and the environment.


We create solutions to problems related to subsurface environmental problems including:

We study these problems using experimental investigations, field measurements and numerical and theoretical monitoring.