Monash University’s Geo-mechanics for Geo-energy and Geo-resources Deep Research Group (3GDeep) consists of ten key researchers and well over 35 PhD students. 3GDeep’s primary aim is to facilitate collaborative research – fundamental and applied research on feasibility assessment, and on technical problems in the development of alternative sustainable deep-Earth mineral and energy resources.

The 3GDeep Group led by Prof Ranjith seeks to evolve sustainable and economically responsible approaches to important practical problems:

(a)       for the mitigation of climate change, mainly through geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2), and utilisation of CO2

(b)       toward environmentally safe technologies for the extraction of unconventional minerals, oil/gas, and geothermal energy, and

(c)        in the use of wastes to produce green value-added products.

 Our projects align with UN Sustainable Goals 13 and 7

The primary objective of 3GDeep research is to develop and understand resource recovery in this domain, with the longer-term goal of promoting technological innovation for environmental protection and safe practical recovery of resources from deep earth. This is being achieved in three main research areas: (1) a Climate Action Plan, and (2) unconventional oil/gas including geothermal (renewable) energy, and (3) new mining methodologies.

Through a series of projects funded by the ARC and industry, we develop suitable methodologies, innovative science, and sophisticated testing devices for micro- and macro-scale studies of reservoir rocks.

Climate change is an immense challenge for the global community. UN Goal 13 gives this imperative: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Our vision is to find ways of achieving large-scale CO2 reduction through storage in geological formations, as well as to create wealth from waste, including from CO2 from power plants. We research technologies for releasing this untapped reserve of clean energy, at an affordable price to society – taking seriously UN Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The mining industry seeks innovations in the science and technology of breaking rocks for mineral extractions – to reduce energy consumption through operational efficiencies, and to minimise environmental impacts. Our group researches and develops innovative techniques for rock fragmentation: primarily at mine sites, but also for later comminution of extracted materials. We envisage significantly less consumption of energy in processing. Given Australia’s pre-eminence in this domain and its excessive expenditure on energy, the national benefit alone will be significant (saving of billions of dollars every year), even before considering the global impact. Techniques developed in recent decades have failed to improve the situation; but our team has developed new methodology for sustainable and economical mining, what we call as “3rd Generation Disruptive Technology for Mining-3GDTM”. 

The group’s research laboratory (3GDeep-RL) has state-of-the-art testing facilities. 3GDeep-RL is the first of its kind in Australia and Worldwide, and serves as a national focal point for this specialisation. Its suite of equipment (valued at A$18 million, featuring macroscale high-pressure testing chambers) is unique in Australia and perhaps the world. Through 3GDeep-RL, Monash has drawn international attention as a power house for large-scale testing applied to deep-Earth explorations. These advanced facilities enable unprecedented research on coal-seam gas, shale gas, oil, and deep geothermal recovery under complex and extreme geological conditions.

I welcome professors/scientists, industry partners, and investors from around the world to our group to collaborate sustainable research in mining resources and energies to bring much needed science and technologies to achieve UN Sustainability Goals. 

 

Prof Ranjith PG
Founding Director of 3GDeep Research Group
Head, Geomechanics