Monash University’s Geo-mechanics for Geo-energy and Geo-resources Deep Research Group (3GDeep) consists of ten leading researchers and well over 35 PhD students. 3GDeep’s primary aim is to facilitate collaborative research – both fundamental and applied - assessing feasibility and resolving technical problems in harnessing new and more sustainable forms of deep-earth mineral and energy resources.

We seek to evolve sustainable and economically responsible approaches to important practical problems, such as the following.

(a)       Mitigating climate change: mainly through geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and by using CO2 in industrial processes and products to keep it out of the atmosphere.

(b)       Moving toward environmentally safe technologies for extracting unconventional minerals, oil/gas, and geothermal energy.

(c)       Using wastes to produce green value-added products.

(d)       Future of Fuel “H2” - New energy-efficient methods of conversion of natural gas to H2

UN Sustainable Development Goals 7, 9, and 13 are guiding principles at the heart of all our projects at 3GDeep.

Our main objective 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 four main research areas: (1) a Climate Action Plan, (2) unconventional oil/gas and renewable geothermal energy and Hydrogen, (3) new mining methodologies and (4) waste to wealth. 

Through a series of projects funded by both Australian Research Council (ARC, industry and international agencies, we are developing 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 states that we must: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” Our vision is to find ways to achieve large-scale CO2 reduction by storing it in deep geological formations, as well as to create wealth from waste such as using CO2 emitted from power plants. We are doing extensive research on the utilisation of CO2 in a number of areas including as stimulation fluid (breaking rocks) for reservoir rocks. Our team researches technologies for releasing the untapped huge reserves of geothermal (clean) energy at an affordable price for our global society – taking seriously UN Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. How do we make an energy-efficient conversion of methane to hydrogen - is another research we have recently taken up.

The mining industry seeks innovations in the science and technology of breaking rocks to extract minerals – to reduce energy consumption through operational efficiencies, and to minimise environmental impacts. Our group researches and develops new techniques for rock fragmentation: primarily at mine sites, but also for later comminution (crushing and grinding) of extracted materials. We envisage a paradigm shift in the truest sense of the word: the future of mining will not require us to dig big holes in the ground, haul heavy rock to crushing plants, and grind it to a fine powder. This means we can dramatically reduce energy consumption in processing. Given Australia’s pre-eminence in this domain and its excessive expenditure on energy, the national benefit alone will be significant (saving 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 a new methodology for sustainable and economical mining, what we call “Slow Releasing Energy Material Agent (SREMA)”. 

Our research laboratory (Deep Earth Energy Lab) has state-of-the-art testing facilities. The lab 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 AUD$18 million) features macroscale high-pressure testing chambers, and is unique in Australia and perhaps the world. Through Deep Earth Energy Lab, Monash has drawn international attention as a powerhouse 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 scientists, industry partners, and investors to our group from around the world to collaborate on sustainable research in recovering minerals and energy. Together we can deliver much-needed science and technologies to achieve urgent UN Sustainable Development Goals. 


Prof Ranjith PG
Founding Director of 3GDeep Research Group
Fellow of Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering