Postdoc research position – Geothermal energy from mines, Durham University, UK

Postdoc research position – Geothermal energy from mines, Durham University, UK The Geothermal Energy from Mines and Solar Geothermal Heat Project in Durham University, UK (source: Durham University)
Carlo Cariaga 28 Mar 2023

The Durham University has an open Postdoctoral Research Associate Position for research on the use of geothermal mine water as a sustainable energy resource.

The Durham University in the UK is currently advertising a Postdoctoral Research Associate position for research connected to the “Geothermal Energy from Mines and Solar-Geothermal heat (GEMS)” project. The position is full-time, fixed-term for 15 months and will be under the Durham Earth Sciences Department.

Applications will be accepted until 17 April 2023 for a target start date of 1 June 2023. Those who are interested may apply via the official job posting.

Warm water in the ~23,000 disused, flooded mines in the UK offers a huge, low-carbon geothermal energy resource that could heat, cool, and provide heat storage for a quarter of UK homes and businesses, notably economically disadvantaged regions, such as former mining and many urban communities. To utilise and optimise this enormous energy supply and storage opportunity, research is required on a number of aspects, including optimised abstraction strategies of those heat resources, introduction of innovative heat storage solutions to level out diurnal and seasonal energy demand fluctuations, mapping the financial landscape for mine geothermal energy, and integration of the technical aspects with governance frameworks, social acceptance, and economic viability.

The aim of the GEMS project is to provide integrated solutions, from initial heat extraction to the end user, for employing mine water geothermal heat energy as sustainable, low-carbon heat source by using simulation tools, innovative heat storage solutions, evaluation of the governance and economic landscape, and community participation.

The successful applicant will be expected to assess the potential of geothermal mine water as a sustainable energy resource. This will be done by using and further developing innovative, state-of-the-art numerical simulations, calibrated with mine records, mine monitoring data, field experiments, and citizen knowledge.

The PDRA will work with the Earth Science team at Durham and the British Geological Survey to develop a state-of-the-art numerical thermo-hydraulic groundwater-mine water model. For model calibration, the PDRA will benefit from data from and collaboration with available industrial and public-sector project partners. The modelling tool will be applied to prospective target mines in NE England and elsewhere.

The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the general activities of the research group and participate actively in the intellectual life of the department and university. There may be opportunities to teach/demonstrate in labs and field classes depending on the interests of the successful candidate.

Work has been underway to harness geothermal heat from the Dawdon mine water treatment scheme under a collaboration between the Coal Authority, the Durham County Council, and Tolent Construction. The Durham City Council had previously received a grant for a feasibility study on using mine water in Horden to provide geothermal heating to greenhouses.

Source: Durham University