Dr Julie Pearce

ARC Mid-Career Industry Fellow

UQ Gas & Energy Transition Research Centre
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 334 63474


Julie’s research is mainly focussed on gas-water-rock core reactivity at reservoir conditions using experimental, field, and geochemical modelling techniques. Recent projects have been in the application of carbon dioxide geological storage in which CO2 is captured and stored in formations generally contained by low permeability cap-rock. The safe containment of the injected CO2 and the potential changes to rock porosity, permeability, and water quality should be determined. Recent and current projects with a focus on a demonstration site in the Surat Basin (Precipice Sandstone) include the impacts of impurity or acid gases present in industrial CO2 streams (collaboration with D. Kirste, SFU), inducing carbonate precipitation (in collaboration with S. Golding and FEI), understanding dissolved metal sources and fate, and the development of a downhole tool to monitor the CO2, SOx and NOx plume (in collaboration with Welldog). Julie has also worked closely with the CO2CRC, CTSCo, and ANLEC R&D, and provided expert opinion to the Queensland Government, and input to Environmental Impacts Assessments. Julie is currently working with landholders, the regional government, councils and industry to understand the sources of methane in aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin, especailly those overlying CSG (with Arrow Energy, SANTOS, APLNG, H. Hoffman, CNG, K, Baublys). Other projects include gas-water-rock or acid-rock reactivity that modify nano-porosity and gas flow in gas bearing shales (Cooper Basin) (collaboration with T. Blach, QUT, and ORNL).

Julie Pearce graduated with an MCHEM (Hons) degree in Chemistry from the University of York, UK. She then moved to the University of Bristol to complete a Ph.D. in 2007 focusing on laser spectroscopic studies to understand the detailed reaction dynamics of atmospheric processes. From 2007 – 2009 she accepted a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, hosted at Nagoya University, Japan. There she measured delta 13C and delta 18O isotopic signatures of CO2 simultaneously in real time in the atmosphere using a laser spectroscopic technique to understand anthropogenic and biogenic sources of CO2. After taking a career break to travel in 15 countries in Asia, she moved to Brisbane in 2010 where she is enjoying the surrounding natural beauty of Queensland.

Research Interests

  • CO2 storage and impurity gases
    Geochemistry and geomechanical effects
  • Reaction dynamics
  • CO2 gas phase isotopologues in indentification of anthropogenic CO2
  • Wet sueprcritical CO2 phase reactions in CO2 storage
  • Shale gas stimulation

Research Impacts

Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage has been validated by the IPCC as a measure to mitigate climate change. For the technology to be deployed on a large-scale, its viability in terms of the containment of the injected CO2 and the long-term safety needs to be determined. Julie is researching the effects of storage of co-contaminants which will be present in industrial CO2 streams on mineral and reservoir rock reactions.

Fugative methane causes issues for landholders when it migrates to bores, and for global warming when released to atmosphere. However methane is also generated naturally by microbes. Understanding the sources of methane in the Great Artesian Basin aquifers and alluvium is important for environmental and social licence.

A new reaction rig has been constructed at UQ specifically to withstand reactive co-contaminant gases, and simulate the high pressure / temperature conditions (~200 bar and 80°C) of CO2 geological storage. Reservoir rock reactions with the co-contaminant SO2 have indicated up to ~ 20 x reactivity than with pure CO2 and indicate potential for enhanced CO2 mineral trapping. This is in collaboration with Prof. Sue Golding, and Prof. Victor Rudolph, Julie also uses geochemical modelling in collaboration with A/Prof. Dirk Kirste of SFU, Canada, these projects are funded by the Collaborative Research Council for Greenhouse Gas Technology (CO2CRC).

Julie is also investigating the reactivity of the water saturated supercritical CO2 phase to clays and cap-rock. Initial results indicate enhanced precipitation of new phases which may self-seal cap-rock fractures.

Additionally teaching into CHEM 1090 Introductory Chemistry.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bristol
  • Masters (Coursework), The University of York


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Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Pearce, Julie K. and Dawson, Grant K. W. (2019). Gas-water-mineral reactivity in caprocks: measurements, estimates, and observations. Geological carbon storage: subsurface seals and caprock integrity. (pp. 147-165) edited by Stéphanie Vialle, Jonathan Ajo‐Franklin and J. William Carey. Washington, DC, United States: American Geophysical Union.

  • Pearce, Julie K. and Dawson, Grant K. W. (2018). Gas‐water‐mineral reactivity in caprocks. Geological Carbon Storage: Subsurface Seals and Caprock Integrity. (pp. 147-165) edited by Stephanie Vialle, Jonathan Ajo-Franklin and J. William Carey. Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781119118657.ch7

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision