ERE Energy, Resources and the Environment
The 2012 Division Outstanding Young Scientist Award is awarded to Suzanne Hangx for her outstanding contribution to understanding the mechanical and chemical effects of CO2 on rock materials, in the context of geological storage of CO2.
Suzanne Hangx completed her PhD in experimental rock deformation at Utrecht University in September 2009 and now works as a geomechanics researcher at Shell Global Solutions. Her research focuses on the impact of CO2 on the mechanical behaviour, damage characteristics and transport properties of reservoir rocks, caprocks and faults, in the framework of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and is amongst the first to address the effects of chemical interactions on rock mechanical properties in this important field. Her work has provided key insights into the damage behaviour of anhydrite caprocks and into creep and reaction of sands under in situ, CO2 storage conditions, identifying the circumstances under which integrity may be compromised. Hangx has investigated not only the effects of chemical change on rock mechanical properties but also the topic of accelerated weathering of olivine on beaches – put forward by some as a means of removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Her work on this has clearly demonstrated that straight forward chemical weathering is too slow to be useful in temperate climates. Since starting her job at Shell in 2010, Hangx continues to publish vigorously and has developed her profile to become a well-known researcher in the CO2-geomechanics field. Her work brings a new level of integration of fundamental rock physics and chemistry into a field of major practical importance and, as such, is exemplary for how basic science can contribute to solving societal problems.