Edward Hough

Research lead, Underground Energy Storage
BGS Keyworth

Ed Hough has over 25 years of involvement in geological projects relevant to geo-energy in the UK and internationally, including hydrocarbons exploration and appraisal, gas storage and energy systems research.  Ed is committed to building and delivering innovative, multi-disciplinary projects that have a positive impact on the future of energy science. Effective collaboration is supported by Ed’s role as the UK representative in the EuroGeoSurveys GeoEnergy expert group, where I sit on the core management team specifically to ensure energy storage and unconventional hydrocarbons are appropriately considered in the context of the EU energy research and advice portfolio. His expertise is grounded by field experience, which provides the foundation for activities related to energy science and an understanding of basin evolution.

Edward Hough’s biography

  • 2022: Associate Editor, GeoEnergy https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/geoenergy
  • 2019: Associate Editor, Petroleum Geoscience https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/pg
  • 2014: Member, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE)
  • 2013: Team Leader, Unconventional gas, BGS shale gas research: Shale gas prospectivity and advice in the UK (NC funded)
  • 2012: EAGE Honourable Recognition Award
  • 1995: Geologist, British Geological Survey: North-west England and the English Midlands: Carboniferous coalfields and Millstone Grit; Permo-Trias; Jurassic and Quaternary
  • 1991 to 1994: BSc (Hons), University of Birmingham

Research interests

Current projects and collaboration

  • Aquifer thermal energy storage for decarbonisation of heating and cooling: Overcoming technical, economic and societal barriers to UK deployment (ATESHAC) (EPSRC grant number EP/V041878/1) – Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) is a type of geothermal seasonal energy storage that can deliver heating and cooling to large buildings, and heating/cooling networks, with very high energy efficiency and very low carbon emissions.  ATES recycles surplus heat and cool from buildings that would otherwise be wasted. The broad aim of the ATESHAC project is to overcome technical, economic and societal barriers to large-scale deployment of ATES in the UK and other immature markets, by providing key data, knowledge and recommendations targeted at Industry, Government and Regulatory authorities, to inform a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework. We are undertaking a series of laboratory and field experiments along with resource assessments to understand the potential for ATES to support low-carbon transitions in the UK.
  • Smart assessment, management and optimisation of urban geothermal resources (SmartRes) (NERC grant number NE/X005607/1) – In this project, we will remove obstacles to uptake of geothermal/underground energy storage by reducing uncertainty about how the ground behaves when used to store and produce heat and cool at a large scale in urban areas. We will focus on relatively shallow (<400m depth) geothermal resources and open-loop systems in which groundwater is pumped into and out of porous, permeable aquifer rocks underground, because these offer large storage capacity and can deliver heat and cool. We are undertaking a series of laboratory and field experiments focussing on the Chalk and Sherwood Sandstone to understand ground response to open-loop thermal systems.
  • Sustainable, Affordable and Viable Compressed Air Energy Storage (SAVE-CAES) (EPSRC grant number EP/W027569/1) – Project SAVE-CAES is all about developing large-scale long-duration energy storage that will enable the UK to be powered largely (and possibly completely) from renewables. That energy storage must be affordable, sustainable and large-scale. Compressed air energy storage (CAES) has the potential to meet all these critically-important criteria. Developing such storage is probably the biggest single challenge standing in the way of “Net-Zero” for the UK by 2050. We are carrying out a series of laboratory experiments and GIS assessments to understand the potential for high-pressure CAES in the UK.
  • Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC): Enabling hydrogen storage near industrial clusters (wave I and II projects). (EPSRC grant number EP/V027050/1) – The decarbonisation of industrial clusters is of critical importance to the UK’s ambitions of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The UK Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge (IDC) of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) aims to establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 and at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030. IDRIC connects and empowers the UK industrial decarbonisation community to deliver an impactful innovation hub for industrial decarbonisation. The establishment of IDRIC as the “one stop shop” for research and innovation, as well as knowledge exchange, regulation, policy and key skills will be beneficial across the industry sectors and clusters. We have developed a bespoke laboratory technique to assess changes to porous rocks on exposure to hydrogen at elevated temperatures and pressures (150 bar, 50 degrees C).
  • Managing the Offshore Energy Transition (MOET) – This project is assessing the environmental sustainability of offshore wind, blue and green hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage for selected test areas of the UK offshore, and is developing solutions for planning the technology and infrastructure of the offshore energy transition. It is also assessing public understanding and acceptance of those technologies. We are mapping out potential underground energy storage locations in the southern North Sea and East Irish Sea and assessing theoretical cavern and porous rock storage capacities and responses of rocks to hydrogen storage.
  • Secure Underground Caverns as an Energy Storage Solution (SUCcESS). STFC grant number ST/Y003195/1 – The SUCcESS project’s overarching objective is, through a stakeholder dialogue, to offer expertise to enable BUL to host geoscience research that targets the UK government’s net-zero agenda. A roadmap detailing potential research themes that take advantage of the geological environment available at Boulby Underground Laboratory (BUL) will be developed to support the uptake of low-carbon strategies including geological energy storage. As part of this work, we will create a network of key geoscience stakeholders to advise on potential research at BUL, establish the current knowledge related to geology at Boulby and complete in-situ and laboratory-based pilot studies to help understand geological conditions at BUL.
  • 2018: SECURe- Subsurface Evaluation of CCS and Unconventional Risks (EU grant). I am consortium co-ordinator for this 16 partner, 3 year, E9M multi-disciplinary international assessment of risks associated with CCS and shale gas
  • 2014: Assessing impact of hydraulic fracturing on National infrastructure (Commissioned)
  • 2018: GARAH: Assessing energy resources in NW Europe (EU Grant)
  • 2018: Integrated assessment of UK Shale resource distribution based on fundamental analyses of shale mechanical and fluid properties (NERC grant). I am Co-Investigator on this 4 year project that will assess UK shale gas and oil resource
  • 2013: UK GeoEnergy Observatories: quantifying the geology of the Cheshire Energy Research Field Site. Integration of geophysical, borehole and outcrop data to support this important NERC capital project

Published outputs

NERC Open Research Archive — Edward Hough


  • Prince II foundation qualified project manager
  • Scientific leadership (UKRI Growing Future Leaders scheme, 2016-2018).
  • Research area leader since 2008
  • Varied publication record including siliclastic sedimentology, energy storage, shale gas, urban geology, regional coalfield and quaternary geology of the UK.
  • Proven track record of winning and delivering impactful research, both collaborative and innovative (over £15M grant and commercially funded science to date)

Professional association

  • 2014: Member, European Society of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE)
  • 2004 to 2007: Secretary, East Midlands Regional Group of the Geological Society

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