PhD Student

Last application date
Mar 22, 2020 16:39
WE13 - Department of Geology
Employment category
Doctoral fellow
Limited duration
MSc degree in geology, physics or engineering (or related disciplines)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

In the framework of the FWO project “Energy storage in the geological subsurface: impact of salt precipitation in porous media” we have an open position for an enthusiastic PhD student in the Pore-scale Processes in Geomaterials Research group (PProGRess-UGent), member of the UGent expertise Centre for X-ray Tomography (

Storing renewable energy when there is a surplus to use at times of high demand is an important research topic regarding the energy transition. A promising technology to do this at large scale is to pump compressed air or hydrogen in the pores of subsurface rock formations. However, salts from the brine originally present in these pores may crystallize out and block the flow of storage gas. Despite its large impact on storage operations, it is currently poorly understood where and in which circumstances this takes place, due to the interplay between the physics of the process and geological heterogeneity. In this project, we will investigate this from the scale of pores up to storage reservoirs (km-scale). This will be done through gas injection experiments in rock samples visualized by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), for which a post-doctoral researcher will be hired, combined with numerical analysis on different scales. With the help of a team familiar with these methods, the PhD student will interpret the experimental data using a combination of 3D image analysis, pore network modelling and continuum-scale reactive flow modelling. This will give novel insights on the impact of salt crystallization on these promising energy storage technologies.

Profile of the candidate

Applicants should have: 

  • an MSc degree in geology, physics or engineering (or related disciplines) with a strong interest in fluid flow in porous media and rock alteration processes in a hydrogeological context. Experience with either porous media science, imaging techniques or geochemical/hydrogeological modelling would be a plus.
  • an independent and well-organized working style, demanding high quality of your own work. 

  • well-developed social skills directed towards working in an interdisciplinary team, excellent interpersonal and communicative skills.

  • strong motivation to succeed in research, willingness to develop excellent scientific writing and presentation techniques

  • excellent English language skills (verbally and written).

How to apply

Applications must contain the following documents in English: a personal (motivation) letter and curriculum vitae. The documents should be sent to .be and , with in cc, using as subject of your mail: ‘Storage_PHD_your name’. Note that the vacancy will be closed as soon as a proper selection can be made.