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The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,500 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.
For the regional development project TRANSGEO (transforming abandoned wells for geothermal energy production) in section 4.8 Geoenergy, we invite applications of motivated candidates for a:

PhD position on re-use of abandoned wells for geothermal energy production (f_m_x)

Reference Number 7016

Large amounts of oil and gas were produced in Central Europe from thousands of deep wells, but after decades of production, many of the hydrocarbon exploration and production wells are abandoned. Instead of abandoning unused wells, they may be used for geothermal energy production and heat storage to support local communities and industries in the energy transition. Today this potential is largely underutilised due to economic uncertainties and technical and non-technical barriers. In TRANSGEO we, therefore, aim to enable a structural change from a fossil-fuel-producing hydrocarbon industry towards sustainable green energy provision from geothermal energy sources by demonstrating technological re-use options for abandoned wells and removing existing barriers.

As a doctoral researcher, you will support this goal by developing and validating well-reuse methodologies based on site-specific feasibility studies in Berlin/Brandenburg with the help of field data and reservoir models. As a team, we will support you in starting a fulfilling career in the field of deep geothermal energy development in science or industry.

Your responsibilities:

  • Use, validate and possibly improve existing numerical codes and develop tailor-made modelling workflows to study the repurposing of hydrocarbon wells for geothermal energy production with a focus on Enhanced Geothermal Systems and Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage
  • Develop, describe and compare different well-repurposing procedures
  • Validate well-repurposing procedures on specific case studies
  • Perform systematic generic modelling studies based on the validated procedures as input for a selection criteria catalogue
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present results at scientific meetings, internal project meetings and to the general public
  • Co-supervise BSc and MSc students
  • The possibility of assistance in teaching can be offered.

Your qualifications:

  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in reservoir/petroleum engineering, drilling/completion engineering, applied geosciences, geology, environmental sciences, geophysics, physics, mathematics or equivalent
  • Experience in reservoir simulation
  • Background knowledge in the topics of geothermal energy, hydrocarbon production, or drilling and completion engineering is useful, but no strict requirement
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English; German language skills are useful, but no strict requirement
  • High motivation and creativity as well as a result-oriented, structured and reliable working attitude
  • Willingness and ability to work in diverse, interdisciplinary and international teams
  • Excellent communication skills

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice is offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance is offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Start date: 1st May 2023
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 26th March 2023. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv@gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba@gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Prof. Dr. Hannes Hofmann via email at hannes.hofmann@gfz-potsdam.de. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

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