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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge


Hydrocarbon recovery research within the energy initiative is carried out across a number of departments and research groups at the University of Cambridge.

The research area includes:

  • New techniques for upstream exploration of fossil fuel resources and enhanced oil recovery techniques.
  • Modelling of oil recovery processes
  • Development of new approaches to remote monitoring of oil-water flow patterns
  • Exploitation  of novel surface chemistry to maximise oil output from reservoirs
  • Physical solutions to oil recovery such as the optimisation of controlled hydraulic fracturing for ‘tight gas’ reservoirs.


Some key research centres include:

Research on surfaces and particles include: cracking of surface films; colloidosomes; surface chemistry and shape changing particles. The Institute also focuses on the fundamental fluid mechanics of multi-phase flows with particular interest including turbulent mixing and plumes; surface tension modelling; dissolution and convection; oil and gas flows in porous rocks; and volcanic flows and turbidites.


We collaborate with industrial partners and are also actively involved in increasing both energy awareness and public understanding of the opportunities and challenges in hydrocarbon recovery.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Hydrocarbon Recovery theme.  The lead for Hydrocarbon Recovery is .

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Professor Abir  Al-Tabbaa
Professor in Geotechnical Engineering
Member of Energy Transitions@Cambridge Strategic Advisory Board
Professor Emilio  Artacho
Professor of Theoretical Mineral Physics
Professor Mike  Bickle
Professor of Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics
01223 333484
Professor Stewart  Cant
Professor of Computational Engineering
FOSSIL FUELS, CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE - combustion modelling and simulation, combustion CFD, two-phase flow modelling and simulation, petrochemical plant explosion safety case analysis
ENGINE AND TURBINES - gas turbine combustion CFD and modelling; thermoacoustic instability analysis
Dr Stuart  Dalziel
University Reader, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Professor Laura  Diaz Anadon
Professor of Climate Change Policy
Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG)
Professor Herbert  Huppert
Director of the Institute for Theoretical Geophysics
01223 337853
Professor R. Vasant  Kumar
Reader in Materials Chemistry
+44 1223 334327
Dr. Jie  Li
University Lecturer in Fluid Mechanics
Dr. Dongfang  Liang
University Lecturer in Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics
Professor Robert  Mair
Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Geotechnical Engineering
Professor Epaminondas  Mastorakos
Dr. David Michael Reiner
University Senior Lecturer in Technology Policy
Director of the MPhil in Technology Policy Programme
Assistant Director of the Energy Policy Research Group
Professor Alexander  Routh
Reader in Chemical Engineering
01223 765718
Professor Alison G Smith
Professor of Plant Biochemistry
Energy Transitions@Cambridge Steering Committee Member
Professor Kenichi  Soga
Professor of Civil Engineering
Professor Nedunchezhian  Swaminathan
Professor of Engineering
+44(0)1223 332586
Dr. Alex  White
University Senior Lecturer in Thermofluids

Associate Members

Events and Marketing Coordinator
CARES Communications and External Affairs Executive

Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Graduate Students

Visiting Researchers