Meet the Team


Dr Wu Gao

Research Associate

T: 07579920572

Dr Wu Gao's key research interests are mainly focused on the geoenvironmental hazards of municipal solid waste landfills and sustainable technology

Professor Hywel Thomas

Cardiff University, Principal Investigator

Professor Hywel R Thomas is FLEXIS Lead Principal Investigator and Principal Investigator of the Smart Thermal Energy Systems work package. He is a Professor of Civil Engineering, the founder Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) at Cardiff University and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment.

Dr Peter Brabham

Senior Lecturer in Applied Geology & Geophysics

T: 029 2087 4334

Based in Cardiff University's School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Dr Peter Brabham is currently on part-time secondment to the FLEXIS project to provide his geological and geophysical expertise in support of FLEXIS project areas.

Dr Muhammad Irfan

Cardiff University, Research Associate

Dr Muhammad Irfan is leading the Geoinformatics and Environmental Monitoring work package of the FLEXIS project. His core areas of research are Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS), Web-GIS, GeoApps, Geodatabase and spatial analysis. He has recently developed an integrated, multicriteria, spatial decision support system, incorporating environmental, social and public health perspectives, for use in geoenergy and geoenvironmental applications. This system utilises a number of artificial intelligence and multi criteria decision analysis techniques to enhance the effectiveness of the spatial decision making process.
His current research involves Public Participatory Web GIS platforms to incorporate local spatial knowledge into the decision making process and for conflict resolution in spatial planning. He is also working at active remote sensing techniques, e.g. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for different geoenergy and geoenvironmental applications. Irfan is also working on the local energy demand & supply mapping to support initiatives towards sustainable off grid local communities.

James Whittaker

Cardiff University, Research Assistant

I am a Research Assistant and PhD student working on the FLEXIS project, specialising in passive seismic monitoring of unconventional gas resources. My PhD project involves calculation of fracture parameters from passive seismic datasets. These parameters are invaluable to well engineers during the process of extracting unconventional gas and ensure that the process is efficient and carried out in an environmentally safe manner. I have worked in the geophysics industry for over 6 years for companies that specialise in the geotechnical and energy sectors. This included CGG, a major service provider for the oil and gas sector, where I was processing and developing new products from legacy seismic data. Previously I was a field geophysicist working on geotechnical projects across the country including Sizewell nuclear power station and the Crossrail project working for Soil Mechanics. My academic background is in exploration geophysics which gave me an excellent grounding in seismic data analysis which I can apply to problems both in the geotechnical and energy sectors.

Dr Min Chen

Cardiff University, PhD Candidate

PhD student, supervised by Prof H R Thomas and Dr L Hosking. His research interest involves coupled thermal, hydraulic, chemical and mechanical (THCM) behaviour of porous media in response to carbon dioxide sequestration in coal and soil. Developing a theoretical and computational modelling for high pressure gases transport in porous media is leading part of his doctoral research at the GRC.
Education 2016- : PhD Geoenvironmental Engineering, Cardiff, UK.
2014-2016: MS Mining Science, China University of Mining and Technology, China.
2010-2014: BS Mining Science, Taiyuan University of Technology, China.

Dr Shakil Masum

Research Fellow

Shakil graduated from Cardiff University in 2008 with a First Class (Hons) in BEng Civil Engineering. During his degree studies he successfully covered all the basic aspects of Civil Engineering. He has achieved Page Prize for the best average marks, Lloyds Register of Shipping Prize for the performance in Structural Engineering, Alan and Cyril Body Educational Trust Prize for the best overall performance. He has been awarded the Institute of Civil Engineering ICE Wales Student Prize 2008 for the outstanding performance in undergraduate degree course. His special interest in the field of Geo-Environmental Engineering has encouraged him to pursue a PhD degree at which he has been enrolled in 2009. The PhD program has been funded by the School of Engineering and Civil Engineering Consultancy Arup. He is an active member of Institute of Civil Engineering. Research interests include computational modelling of gas generation and migration through highly compacted bentonite for use in underground disposal facilities for high level nuclear waste and to obtain required information for the risk assessment of such a repository.

Dr Ni AN

Cardiff University, Research Staff

My research activities initially focused on the area of soil-atmosphere interaction and developed a numerical approach to estimate the coupled thermal-hydro soil behaviour under the effect of various atmosphere conditions for short-term or long-term periods. Now I am involved in FLEXIS smart energy project and focus on the subproject Underground Coal Gasification, aiming to study the environmental influence of UCG process on surrounding strata region and provide feasible suggestions of environment protection in UCG commercialization.

Dr Sivachidambaram Sadasivam

Cardiff University, Research Assistant

Sivachidambaram Sadaivam’s work focuses on geoenvironmental aspects of Coalbed methane (CBM) and Underground coal gasification (UCG). He studied PhD in Environmental Engineering, ME in Environmental Engineering and BE in Chemical Engineering. His PhD was focused on protecting nuclear wastes using clay materials. After completing the PhD, he joined the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC), Cardiff University in April 2013 as a member of the SEREN project to study the environmental aspects of the unconventional energy extraction methods and continuing the work as part of the FLEXIS project under Unconventional Gas work package. He is experienced in field-scale exploration studies and passionate to conduct laboratory scale experiments to understand CBM and UCG operations.