PhD Opportunity: The Effect of Cyclic Subsurface Hydrogen Storage on the Mechanical and Transport Properties of Reservoir Rocks

Reference no.: EGIS2019SH
Closing date: 31 December 2019
Supervisors: Dr Sabine den Hartog
Professor Andreas Busch
Dr Kamaljit Singh
Dr Jim Buckman


Hydrogen storage is a promising technology to account for fluctuations, e.g. seasonal, in the global energy demand. However, little is known about the response of the reservoir rocks to the related fluctuations in pore fluid pressure and chemistry. In particular, the mechanical and transport behaviour of the reservoir rocks are likely to be affected by such fluctuations. This project combines deformation experiments and imaging techniques such as electron microscopy and X-Ray microtomography to understand such effects of hydrogen storage.

The PhD student will learn to: design an experimental program; perform rock deformation experiments; analyse data; perform microstructural analysis, use optical and electron microscopes; use X-Ray microtomography instruments; formulate microphysical and write scientific papers.

The GeoEnergy Research Group is a recently established group at the Lyell Centre at Heriot Watt University. The Lyell Centre is a joint research centre between Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey. The candidate will also be part of the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering (formerly the Institute of Petroleum Engineering), which has more than 40 years of experience in research, teaching and training in petroleum engineering and petroleum geoscience. For more information on our activities please visit our website at and This project is supervised by Dr. Sabine den Hartog, Prof. Busch, Dr. Singh and Dr. Buckman.


This scholarship is available to UK, EU and overseas candidates.

The successful candidate should have a strong interest in applied research and possess at minimum a masters and undergraduate degree in geophysics, geology, earth sciences or a similar field. Formally four years of university study including a minimum of one year at an advanced level are required. The candidate should have solid knowledge of deformation mechanisms and transport properties of rocks and have a strong background in mathematics. Some experience with experimental and imaging work is desirable but not essential.


The scholarship will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately 15,000 for the 36 month duration of the project.

How to apply

To apply you must complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Applied Geoscience and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor on your application form. You will also need to provide a CV, a supporting statement, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and one academic reference. You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English within the last 2 years). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.

Please contact Dr. Sabine den Hartog ( for informal information.


The successful applicant must be available to start in May 2020.

posted: 12 November 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.