The Energy, Environment, Modelling and Minerals Section is a unique interdisciplinary team that combines world-leading techniques in advanced measurement and multi-scale, multi-physics modelling. 

The E2M2 team develops engineering solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing mankind: the supply of renewable energy, the sustainable production of metals and earth resources, and mitigating environmental impacts and risks.

We work to understand and mitigate the effects of both natural and man-made change and hazard in the natural environment: climate change, pollution, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides.

Computational Physics and Applied Modelling

Computational Physics and Applied ModellingWe develop the complex computational techniques required to understand physical processes in the pristine and perturbed natural environment.

AMCG - Applied Modelling & Computation Group has developed a multi-physics modelling framework which links the research of many disciplines. 

Unique adaptive mesh methods enable solution across the massive range of spatial scales needed in coupled, multi-physics problems. This has allowed the modelling of ocean circulation, air pollution, nuclear safety processes, radiation transport, multi-phase flow, fluid-particulate-solid behaviour, and meteorite impact.

In addition the Virtual Geoscience Workbench is a software package being developed to model complex problems in discontinous geoscience problems.

The structure and flow of froths and foams determines their function. A unique multi-phase CFD model allows industrial process optimisation and equipment design.

Considerable emphasis is given to producing visual simulation results and producing realistic surfaces of flowing liquids, crashing waves and bursting bubbles.

Research topics include:

  • Multi-scale multi-physics simulations
  • Numerical methods, algorithms and high-performance computing
  • Inverse problems, imaging and optimisation 
  • Construction of complex, ocean/atmosphere/climate models, for geological and climate change application
  • Ocean modelling 
  • Radiation transport
  • Foam and Froth Flotation multi-phase models for process and equipment design
  • Coupled solid-fluid-radiation system models
  • Image data mining
  • Complex system models
  • International shipping container movement
  • Inverse problems and uncertainty, Bayesian statistics, stochastic finite elements
  • Evolutionary computational and genetic algorithms
  • Modelling of pollution records

Energy, Minerals and Environmental Management

Energy, Minerals and Environmental ManagementOur interest is in sustainable industrial technologies for future generations.

We use generic experimental, imaging and computational techniques to develop, model and validate industrial-scale minerals, energy and environmental systems.

Our energy research is focused on carbon reduction, fuel cell and sustainable energy innovation, and forms part of the Energy Futures Lab.

Our nuclear energy research focuses on the safety of reactor design and of legacy waste storage.  Minerals research covers both production and legacy in the environment.  Minerals processing research is developing new measurement methods and equipment designs to optimise froth flotation for mineral recovery, and minimising the environmental impact.

Detailed flow models are applied to predict the dispersion of pollution around buildings in cities.  Metals enter the environment in a number of ways and forms. We study these forms, their dispersion and movement, and the associated risks. To mitigate the legacy, we perform biological systems engineering for water quality and waste re-use.

We have particular experitise in naturally-occurring radioactive substances, arsenic and heavy metals as well as persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic organic chemicals mediated through the environment.

Research topics include:

  • Fuel cell science, engineering and technology
  • Carbon reduction management and bio-storage
  • Water and wa ste water science and management
  • Solid waste management
  • Environmental impact of mining
  • Environmental geochemistry with reference to human health and the environment
  • Nuclear safety technology for reactor criticality and repositories
  • Air-borne pollutant dispersion in urban and natural environments
  • 3-D laser particle shape acquisition and characterisation
  • Rock fragment packing, void geometry and flow
  • Froth flotation measurement and process optimisation
  • Wave energy dissipation on shorelines and breakwaters

Geohazards and Geo-engineering

Geohazards and Geo-engineeringWe predict the destructive geological events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides that impact human life. We also study those geological processes that significantly affect us, for example rock stability in mines and the weathering of stone.

To do this we develop advanced technology for the quantitative observation and measurement of terrain and rock deformation. From satellite remote sensing of earth observation to laboratory measurements of rock mechanics, we emphasize bridging the macro- and micro-scale through complex system modelling and 3-D GlS.

From these measurements we perform hazard prediction and develop geo-engineering solutions.

Our ultimate goal is to prevent man-made geohazards and to minimize the damage caused by natural geological events.

Research topics include:

  • Remote sensing and GIS modelling for regional land instability assessment
  • Rock mechanics and rock engineering: strength, deformation and fluid flow of, and through, rock fractures
  • Inverse modelling of tsunami and storm surge using complex systems, and based on incomplete data with considerable uncertainty
  • Radar interferometry and sub-pixel optical flow for quantitative change detection of the land surface and measurement of tectonic deformation
  • Technical development of advanced phase correlation method for sub-pixel image feature matching
  • Wellbore stability investigation and geo-engineering
  • Sculpture conservation through geo-engineering


The team members are:

NameResearch Area
Prof Peter Allison Earth Surface Processes
Prof Nigel Brandon Sustainable Development in Energy
Prof Jan Cilliers  Minerals processing
Prof Sevket Durucan  Mining & Environmental Engineering
Dr Gerard Gorman  Computational Physics
Dr Kathryn Hadler Mineral Processing
Prof Anna Korre  Environmental Engineering
Dr John-Paul Latham  Geomaterials
Dr Jian Liu  Remote Sensing
Prof Stephen Neethling  Minerals Processing
Prof Chris Pain  Computational Physics
Prof Matthew Piggott  Computational Physics

 You can find details of research seminars here. Sign up to seminar mailing list here.