Isabel Liu ’26


Computer Science

Project Title

Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Storage in Water-saturated Bentonite Clay Systems

Montmorillonite is a smectite clay mineral that is useful for defining fluid migration pathways and investigating gas storage due to its high swelling pressure and low permeability. In this study, I researched carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage in the subsurface environment, specifically in the interlayer space of montmorillonite that hosts water molecules and hydrated cations. These two gases are stored very differently, but both are important for environmental and industrial reasons; while carbon dioxide is intended to be conserved as long and stably as possible at a depth of more than 800 meters to alleviate global warming, hydrogen is stored at a more superficial level for seasonal injection and removed for industrial purposes. To lay the groundwork for permeability analyses, I used the programs LAMMPS Molecular Dynamics Simulator, Visual Molecular Dynamics and MATLAB to simulate carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas storage in montmorillonite clay at different water saturations. I found it inspiring to be able to use computer simulations to estimate realistic dynamics between molecules and explore this important industrial application at minimal cost. Through this experience, I acquired many technical skills, learned to develop my creativity and gained important insights into geosystems engineering.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Environmental Science


Interfacial Water Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey


Ian Bourg, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute; Xiaojin Zheng, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Civil and Environmental Engineering