Geosciences for the energy system transition | GeoT

Explore geoscience solutions to the energy transition, with a particular focus on deep groundwater: exploration, characterization and optimization of crustal reservoirs, risk management and of public perceptions.

Ambitions

The ITI Geosciences for the Energy Systems Transition: Exploiting Deep Groundwater (ITI GeoT) introduces an innovative, transversal, and structured response to the current scientific, societal, economic, and environmental challenges facing the use of the geosciences in the energy systems transition.

This multi-disciplinary initiative includes a demanding and international Master and doctoral training program backed by advanced, interdisciplinary research conducted in partnership with leading industrial, political, and public stakeholders to address an innovative topic: the role of deep groundwater as a key tool in the energy system transition.

Thematics and research challenges

Making deep geothermal energy exploitation a major contributor to the energy sector by:

  • Developing innovative geological models of deep fractured continental reservoirs, particularly in Europe; and
  • Improving the economic viability and profitability of deep groundwater reservoirs through co-production of resources, including lithium, hydrogen, heat, and storage.

Improving the way we explore for and characterize crustal fluid reservoirs by:

  • Using “low-cost” emerging geophysical imaging techniques to reduce the cost of exploration; and
  • Deepening our understanding of rock-fluid interactions in deep reservoirs to improve anthropogenic stimulation and anticipate long-term reservoir deformation.

Optimizing how we exploit deep groundwater resources by:

  • Developing robust, on-site workflows that integrate real-time energy production data and seismic risk monitoring; and
  • Engineering production pumps for high temperature and exposure to corrosive fluids and scaling precipitates.

Improving how we manage risk by:

  • Improving monitoring of aseismic deformation in the reservoir and the nucleation of seismic events;
  • Developing geomechanical reservoir models that use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to better calibrate Traffic-light alert systems (TLS);
  • Establishing expert consulting groups that include industrial operators and public institutions; and
  • Producing best practice guides.

Enhancing public engagement and perception by:

  • Better understanding the role of socio-technological interactions in the public perception of geo-energy projects involving deep groundwater;
  • Tracking the evolution of media coverage of energy projects; and
  • Quantifying the impact of the emerging “citizen science” initiatives.

Graduate program

In a world seeking to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, it is more critical than ever to train the next generation of scientists and industry leaders to harness georesources for a decarbonized future. Through a comprehensive curriculum of discipline-focused courses, fields schools, and intensive research internships, and by relying on professional (academic and industry) speakers, the main objectives of this program are:

  • To develop a holistic understanding of the diverse interconnections that exist between geoscience research and industry;
  • To help students develop initiative and autonomy in the design and execution of multidisciplinary projects;
  • To expose students to work in a research and development framework;
  • To introduce students to a large network of professionals, preparing them for a wide range of postgraduate careers, including academic research.

The GeoT specialization offers:

  • Lecture-based learning;
  • Hands-on practical classes and tutorials;
  • On the ground geological and industrial field schools;
  • Participation in the international conferences; and
  • Intensive and independent research internships on cutting-edge renewable georesource topics.

The first year of the GeoT specialization is dedicated to mastering scientific and technical basics in geosciences. It includes a geological field school showcasing crustal reservoirs in nature and an international seminar series. Students will be introduced to the scientific method through part-time research internships.

The second year delves more deeply into emerging fields including renewable georesources, big data and artificial intelligence, and the position and perception of these technologies in society. 70% of the second year is dedicated to intensive research internships and a capstone field school applying the skillset learnt through coursework to an active geothermal site. Research and development internships in a professional environment are possible.

geosciences (geophysics, geology, geochemistry, geomechanics) - engineering (mechanical engineering / civil engineering) - data management / big data / artificial intelligence / computer science - social sciences - information and communication studies

Students of the Geosciences for the Energy Systems Transition (GeoT) specialization will learn to:

  • Observe, characterize, and quantify the physical properties of the subsurface using different geophysical tools, at different scales;
  • Process and analyze various digital signals in a geographic information system;
  • Understand, design, and implement mathematical models simulating physical processes;
  • Identify, analyze, and understand questions of social perception of the georesource sector;
  • Design, execute, and defend of scientific studies;
  • Write and present for an academic and professional audience.

Admission criteria

  • Master 1: Pre-requisites for admission to the 1st year of the Master program: an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences, physics or equivalent degree (180 European credits)
  • Master 2: Pre-requisites for admission to the 2nd year of the Master program: a Master degree in Earth sciences, physics, or an equivalent degree.
  • PhD: An Earth, planetary, and environmental sciences Master degree, with GeoT specialization, from the University of Strasbourg, a Master of Science with a specialization in geophysics or physics, or equivalent degree

Application process

  • Master: Admission is based on evaluation of applications. Please contact scolarité@eost.unistra.fr for more information.
  • PhD: Admission is based on evaluation of applications and an in-person interview. Please contact monlouis@unistra.fr for more information.

Master

GeoT Master coordinators: Florence Beck and Patrick Baud

For more information about the GeoT Master specialization please contact: scolarite@eost.unistra.fr

PhD

GeoT-affiliated PhD projects are administered by the Earth and Environment Sciences doctoral school (ED413).

For more information, please contact :

Miguel Monlouis

monlouis@unistra.fr

Établissement associé de l'Université de Strasbourg
Fondation Université de Strasbourg
Investissements d'Avenir
Ligue européenne des universités de recherche (LERU)
EUCOR, Le Campus européen
CNRS
Inserm Grand Est
HRS4R