CCUS University of Aberdeen Champion.

Senior Lecturer


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272672
The University of Aberdeen Fraser Noble 256


David Vega-Maza gained his research experience to date in the fields of experimental thermodynamics (including calorimetry and phase behaviour), fundamental measurement science (including acoustic techniques for gas properties and new standards in temperature and humidity), and in power plants analysis and simulation. He joined the Shell and Qatar CCS research group at Imperial College London, where he carried out experimental work measuring thermophysical properties of CO2-fluid mixtures under capture and storage conditions. His research portfolio at the University of Aberdeen aims to develop new models and measuring technologies in order to gain fundamental knowledge, reduce uncertainties and engage in cross-cutting activities in CCS as a climate change mitigation technology.

He is currently the CCUS group champion in Aberdeen, and member of the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage  -SCCS- directorate.


Research Interests

Thermophysical Properties of fluids under extreme conditions.

Applied fundamental thermodynamics and in-house experimental methods to measure and characterise fluids under a wide range of conditions, including corrosive and toxic fluids. His interests are in speed of sound, calorimetry, electrical properties, phase behaviour, density and viscosity.

Carbon Capture and Storage.

David engages in interdisciplinary research aimed to develop CCS as a climate mitigation technology worldwide.

Fundamental metrology and new sensors development.

He participated in an European Union FP7 project, EURAMET  Ref. 217257, to determine the Boltzmann Constant for the redefinition of the Kelvin using speed of sound and microwaves measurements. He develops new sensors to be deployed in harsh and confined environments, encompassing acoustics, electrical properties, pH, dielectric constant, and phase and fluid type detection.

Current Research

Interfacial properties at reservoir conditions.

IFT, contact angle and interfacial rheology of {CO2 + hydrocarbons + brines} mixtures under a wide range of conditions. His measurements and models are inputs in cross-discipline research collaboration with fluid mechanics to understand how fluids flow in porous media at high pressure high temperature conditions.

Adsorbent-Fluid and Rock-Fluid interactions.

He is currently using phase behaviour, interfacial properties, pH mesurements and spectroscopy to understand the surface chemistry involved in relevant processes such as carbon capture, wettability, low salinity water flooding and CO2 geological trapping mechanisms.

Speed of sound in refrigerant gases.

In collaboration with Prof. Martin Trusler at Imperial College London, he is using acoustic resonant cavities to develop new, more effficient and environmentally friendly refrigerant mixtures of gases.

Stability of foams, emulsions and colloidal suspensions: application to drilling fluids

Mixtures of oil, water and solids are a real challenge where new physical models, experimental techniques i.e. interfacial rheology and light scattering, and dynamic simulations could tackle some of the practical problems and open up exciting scientific questions.

Electromagnetic properties of Brines over an extended range of temperatures, pressures and compositions

There is a lack of knowledge of the electromagnetic properties of brines considering the wide range of pressures, temperatures, and compositions encountered in reservoirs.  New experimental techniques using RF signals, and fundamental science are needed to design new sensors down hole, able to improve the operational efficiency and exploration outcomes in the subsurface, the safety of any intervention, suitable to monitor in-situ and mitigate the environmental impact. There is also an added value of these models on brines, as they play a key role in the supercritical fluid technology, the formation of gas hydrates, seawater desalination and waste-water treatment.


Research Grants

  • ETP grant. 2014-2017. Collaboration with Dr David Hendry (UoA), Prof. Mercedes Maroto-Valer (Heriot-Watt University) and Zenith Ltd. £170k
  • Encompass Kick Start project. May-July 2014. Centrifuges Un-limited. £5k.



Teaching Responsibilities

  • EG2011 Process Engineering. 2nd year undergraduate engineering programs.
  • EE4017 Sensing and Instrumentation. 4th year undergraduate electrical engineering program (shared with Dr Nick Burns)
  • EG55R1/EG55T1 Process Shut Down, Structural Decommissionign and Disposal. MSc in Decommissioning (shared with Prof. Richard Neilson.
  • EG4578 BEng Group Design Project (Contributor).
  • EG5565 MEng Group design (Contributor).


Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • Scottish Carbon Capture Research -SCCS-Directorate member.

Admin Responsibilities

  • Programme coordinator for the MSc in Decommissioning
  • Level 2 Undergraduate coordinator. (School of Engineering)
  • EG2011 Process engineering Coordinator.
  • EE4017 Sensing and Instrumentation coordinator.