Setting the pace for sustainable energy research



A new technology and research centre has been established by PETRONAS, with the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering (IGE) at Heriot-Watt University UK campus, to pursue cleaner energy solutions.

The establishment of the PETRONAS Centre of Excellence in Subsurface Engineering and Energy Transition (PACESET) is a milestone marking the continuation of a research and development collaboration agreement with the university, known for its world-leading science and engineering expertise in subsurface technologies as well as low-carbon sustainable energy. This long-term commitment will focus on research and development projects that look into solutions to reduce carbon footprint while optimising hydrocarbon resources though technological advancements and digitalisation.  

PETRONAS Chief Technology Officer Dr Nasir Darman noted, “PETRONAS is committed to working towards becoming one of the most sustainable geo-energy companies in the world. This is why we are co-funding PACESET at Heriot-Watt University. Through this collaboration with one of the premier research forces in the energy transition area, we can benefit from a world-class research portfolio on sustainable energy.”

Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Richard A. Williams said: “This exciting new initiative fits perfectly into the energy research landscape, here at Heriot-Watt University. This research activity will further strengthen our leading work in sustainable energy, decarbonisation and energy transition, all critical elements in the efforts to reach our common goal. PETRONAS is to be congratulated for its commitment to sustainability and foresight in funding this work which is of global importance.”

IGE is committed to the transition from fossil energy to more sustainable energy sources, in particular those using the subsurface. Projects on CO2 storage, hydrogen utilisation and management and thermal geoenergy are part of the energy transition mix within IGE.

The Director of IGE, Professor Andreas Busch, added: “Professors Ken Sorbie and Sebastian Geiger, Energi Simulation Chair, were instrumental in proposing the Centre, which is an important and very welcome step in the mission of the Institute. We look forward to working together to making the energy economy less reliant on fossil fuels.”

Further technical projects are in active discussion, including on enhanced CO2 trapping mechanisms in heterogeneous rocks in underground reservoirs. These projects will utilise the expertise and research within PACESET in collaboration with other academics, researchers and students across the university. In addition, the successful Energi Simulation Chairs have been renewed for a further three years, which will benefit both the programme and the Centre.

Read the transcript of Professor Mackay's presentation.


Fiona Duff