The Department of Physical Geography
(Faculty of Geosciences) is searching for two PhD candidates who will analyse the water-energy system feedbacks under present and future droughts and heatwaves. This project is funded by the ERC Starting Grant ‘Balancing clean Water and Energy provision under changing climate and eXtremese (B-WEX)’, which aims to develop water management and energy transition pathways that are robust under increasing climate extremes. Here two PhDs and other members of the research team will make use of the latest developments in energy system, water technology and resources (hydrological, water quality, sector water use) modelling, and global change research.
Providing sustainable clean water and energy to a growing global population represents a significant challenge. Doing so under changing climate conditions with more frequent and severe climate extremes – including droughts and heatwaves – increases this challenge even more. Water and energy are intrinsically linked: we need energy to provide clean water (e.g. for wastewater treatment, desalination and pumping) and we need water to provide energy (e.g. for hydropower, cooling of thermoelectric power and concentrated solar power plants and for biofuel production). Recent drought and heatwave events have shown the vulnerability of both the energy and water sectors, as the demand for the two and their systemic interdependencies are particularly strong. The interplay between clean water and energy under climate extremes is however complex and poorly understood. With heatwaves and droughts occurring more frequently across the globe, we need improved understanding on how water–energy system processes cascade in time and space under a changing climate and extremes. This is urgently needed to develop water management and energy transition strategies that are also robust under increasing climate shocks.
We are searching for two PhD candidates: PhD1 focussing on water demands for energy provision and PhD2 focussing on energy demands for clean water provision and water scarcity alleviation under present to future droughts and heatwaves worldwide.
- PhD1 will develop a global high-resolution energy system model to estimate the energy sector’s water use and water-dependent energy supply (including hydropower, thermoelectric power, concentrated solar power and biofuels) under droughts and heatwaves. This model will be used to make projections of future energy system responses under changing climate and extremes (i.e. droughts, heatwaves), accounting for various energy transition developments.
- PhD2 will study the state of water technologies (including desalination, waste water treatment and reuse) and their energy demands to provide clean water and alleviate water scarcity under changing climate and drought-heatwave events. PhD2 will also contribute to the development of implementing water technologies in the water system model being developed in our research group, accounting for water availability, sectoral water use and water quality. Changes in energy demands for providing clean water and alleviating water scarcity under future climate and extremes (i.e. droughts, heatwaves) will be studied under various water management transition developments in regions worldwide.
Both PhD candidates will work closely together with two postdocs, who are responsible for developing a globally applicable water-energy system model framework and develop water-energy transition pathways for balancing clean water and energy provision. In addition, there will be ample opportunity to cooperate with other researchers at our faculty and researcher of other leading research groups in the field of water-energy nexus research.