Professor David Manning
Professor of Soil Science

Introduction

I'm interested in how soils and plants interact in response to climate change, and how we can exploit soil processes to minimise the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

I use my research-based understanding of how soils and their constituent minerals interact with the biosphere in two contexts: 1) carbon capture (through carbonate precipitation or biochar addition), and 2) plant nutrient supply (especially novel sources of K).

I use my earlier work on granites and petroleum systems to develop novel sources of carbon-neutral geoenergy, including deep geothermal power generation in northern England.

Background

By training I'm a geologist (specialising in geochemistry and mineralogy), bringing skills from that area to the field of soil science whilst maintaining activity in mineral raw materials, energy and waste management.

Professional Qualifications and Service

A member of the Institution of Geologists since 1979, I became a Chartered Geologist in 1993, a Chartered Scientist in 2005, and a European Geologist in 2005.   From 2008 - 2011 I was Professional Secretary of the Geological Society of London, the person responsible for the award of Chartered Geologist, Chartered Scientist and European Geologist status to competent professionals. 

I am a Member of Council of the European Federation of Geologists, which awards professional qualification in geology across Europe, and I chair the EFG's Panel of Experts on Soil Protection.

During my service as Professional Secretary, I oversaw the establishment of the Register of Ground Engineering Professionals, and implemented new procedures for the Chartership process, focusing on the UK and Hong Kong.  I oversaw the accreditation of undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes in geology in the UK and overseas, and the introduction of accredited company training schemes.

Roles and Responsibilities

Deputy Head of School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, 2010-present.

Member of Newcastle University Council, 2009-2012. 

Director, Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, 2008-2010.

University Quaker Contact (go to www.quakers-in-newcastle.org.uk for more information about Newcastle Quaker activities).

Professional Secretary, Geological Society of London (2008-2011), responsible for all aspects of professional development (degree accreditation, chartership, cpd etc).

Advisory Committee Member, International Biochar Initiative (2008-2011).

Steering Committee Member, ESF MOLTER programme (www.molter.no)

Secretary of Cambois Rowing Club (www.cambois-rowing.org).

Qualifications

B.Sc. (Geology), class 2:1, Durham, 1976
Ph.D. (Geology), Manchester, 1979
Fellow of the Geological Society of London (since 1976).
Chartered Geologist (since 1993).
Chartered Scientist (since 2005).
European Geologist (since 2005).

Previous Positions

2000 Professor in Environmental Geochemistry, University of Manchester
1996 -2000 Reader in Geology, University of Manchester
1992-1996 Senior Lecturer in Geology, University of Manchester
1988-1992 Lecturer in Geology, University of Manchester
1983-1988 New Blood Lecturer in Geology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
1981-1982 Post-doctoral research fellow (chercheur assimilé) Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, Nancy (funded by CNRS ATP Internationale).
1979-1981 Post-doctoral research fellow (NERC GT5/F/79/GS/3), Department of Geology, University of Manchester.

Visiting appointments, directorships and fellowships:
2001-2002 Leverhulme Research Fellow
1996 Visiting Scientist (NSERC-Royal Society exchange programme), Geological Survey of Canada (Calgary) and Associate, University of Calgary
1996 onwards Director, Mineral Solutions Ltd
1994-2000 Associate, Greater Manchester Geological Unit
1988-1989 Nuffield Science Research Fellow.

Industrial experience

Director, Mineral Solutions Ltd (1996-2006; www.mineralsolutions.co.uk)

Founding shareholder, Cluff Geothermal Ltd (www.cluffgeothermal.com)

Over 30 years global experience working with extractive industries in connection with the production, processing and use of mineral raw materials.   Mineral raw material sourcing, processing, manufacture and sales of a fertiliser product (MSL-K).   Pre-production processing of expanding pumice.    Testing and advice on landfill design, specifically landfill drainage systems, in collaboration with TerraConsult Ltd.  Substantial experience in consultancy and mineral/environmental project management.

Memberships

Geological Society of London (Chartered)
Mineralogical Society
Geochemical Society
International Association of Geochemists and Cosmochemists
Mineralogical Association of Canada

Honours and Awards

Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecturer, 2009-2010.
Schlumberger Medal, Mineralogical Society, 2004.
Wollaston Fund (Geological Society of London), 1993

Languages

French (rusty) 

Informal Interests

Rowing (www.cambois-rowing.org)
Music (cello, violin; Scottish and Northumbrian tradition)

Research Interests

My goal is to use my understanding of the reactions that take place in soils to provide benefits that help sustain human populations. The work focuses (a) on carbon capture - through the artificially-influenced precipitation of carbonate minerals and through use of poorly-reactive carbons such as biochar, and (b) on novel methods to build soil fertility - exploiting the weathering of minerals.

To this end, I focus on mineral-water reactions in biologically-active systems including soils, sediments, aquifers, petroleum reservoirs and landfill sites.

Extending to greater depths, I use my long-standing interests in water-rock reaction in granitic and petroleum systems to develop novel geothermal opportunities. Most recently these include a 1000 m deep hole in Weardale, drilled in 2004, with a second 420 m hole nearby for injection, drilled in 2010, and the 1820 m deep hole at Newcastle Science Central.

The publications listed here are a small subset of what you can find in a database such as Web of Knowledge. Search on 'Manning DAC', which is a unique identifier that will give you the vast majority of publications produced throughout my career.

 

Other Expertise

Thermal analysis; mineral raw materials, including fuels such as coal; geothermal energy; commercial development of minerals; granitic rocks.

 

Current Work

Understanding the extent, rates and mechanisms of carbonation of calcium silicates in soils and rock weathering, addressing carbonation of urban soils, steel slags and basic rocks.

Investigation of the use of crushed silicate rocks as sources of K, including agronomic benefit for developing countries.

Novel techniques for the characterisation of soil organic matter and related materials from sediments, using thermal analysis connected to on-line isotope ratio and evolved gas mass spectrometry.

 

Future Research

Using fundamental research on mineral reactions to develop practical alternatives to conventional fertilisers that may be in short supply.

Understanding changes in organic matter in response to changes in land use or due to sediment burial history. 

 

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome applications from students wishing to work on carbon capture or soil fertility, interested in developing skills in the investigation of organic matter in soils and sediments, of interactions between plants and soils, and of agricultural mineral raw materials.

 

Esteem Indicators

Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecturer, 2009-2010.
Schlumberger Medal, Mineralogical Society, 2004.
Wollaston Fund (Geological Society of London), 1993.
Leverhulme Research Fellow, 2001-2.
Nuffield Science Research Fellow, 1988-9.

Vice President, Geological Society of London, 2005-7.
Professional Secretary, Geological Society of London, 2008-2011.

Chair, Panel of Experts on Soils, European Federation of Geologists, 2012 onwards.

Steering Committee member (on behalf of NERC) on ESF MOLTER programme (www.molter.no).

Chair, Public Briefing on Shale Gas in the UK, Geological Society, 18 June 2012 (www.geolsoc.org.uk/shalegas).

Invited Speaker, 2nd Brazilian Stonemeal Congress, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2013

Invited Keynote Speaker, Micronutrients in sustainable agriculture, Swedish Agricultural University/FORMAS, Uppsala, 6 November 2012.

Invited Keynote Speaker, 12th Regional Congress on Geology, Mineral and Energy Resources of Southeast Asia GEOSEA 2012, Bangkok, 2012.

Invited Speaker, 'Living with Minerals', Confederation of British Industry, London, 2011.

Invited Speaker, Green Week - Climate Change: Act and Adapt, session “2050 Vision: Working with nature”: Biochar: "A castle in the air or a real option for climate change mitigation?" Brussels, 2009.

Invited Speaker, 1st Brazilian Stonemeal Congress, Brasilia, 2009. 

Invited Speaker, Gordon Conference, Organic Geochemistry, 2006. 

International Biochar Initiative Science Advisory Committee and convenor of 2nd International Conference on Biochar, Newcastle, 2008 (www.biochar-international.org).

International Advisory Committee for the following conferences: Organic Matter Stabilisation 2010 (INRA); Minerals for Life (Mineralogical Society, Edinburgh).

Session Convenor, GeoCanada 2010 (www.geocanada2010.ca)

Session Convenor, Eurosoil 2012, Bari, Italy. 

 

Funding

Continuous NERC funding in one way or another since 1983, for experimental geochemistry and work on wastes.
EPSRC and BBSRC funding for technique development and work on contaminated land and water.
EPSRC funding on carbon capture by carbonate mineral precipitation in soils.
BBSRC funding on soil organic matter-microbe interactions.

 

Industrial Relevance

Mineral raw materials, especially fertilizers, geothermal energy, landfill design.

Director, Mineral Solutions Ltd (www.mineralsolutions.co.uk).

Co-Founder, Cluff Geothermal Ltd.

Lead on North Star funded proof of concept investigation of ochre for water clean-up.

Bioenergy: pyrolysis and biochar as a carbon sink.

 

Patents

None in my name.

 

Keywords

TG, IRMS, QMS, fluorine, scale, kaolin, clay, zeolite, leachate, ammonium, perlite, pumice, potash, ochre, phosphate

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach environmental Earth science:
ACE1102 Earth surface materials: contribute to this module.

Postgraduate Teaching

I teach business-focussed modules relating to consultancy skill development:
CEG8607 The Environment Business module leader.

I contribute to modules on applied hydrogeology, engineering geology, and waste management:
CEG8511 Groundwater Assessment
Lead; MSc projects on landfill and related topics.