PhD Position in the DeepScale project

Trondheim, Norway
04 Sep 2019
End of advertisement period
23 Sep 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD fellowship at Department of Chemical Engineering, DeepScale (Deep Geothermal Energy (DGE)) flow assurance project.

The Norwegian industry is looking for new sectors where the competence built within oil and gas production can be used. Scaling of minerals in formation water is a well-known issue in this sector and extensive expertise has been developed in Norway on this topic. The results from the DeepScale project shall spur the Norwegian industry to adapt this competence to scaling in DGE installations. Utilization of DGE is a fast-growing sector in the world, which offers an international outlet for this Norwegian competence.

Thermodynamic studies of geothermal water producing wells emerged from New Zealand in the fifties and later from US in the seventies and eighties, and quite substantial experimental and theoretical work was done. There are several software packages and databases with parameters publicly available from those early days, for instance Johnson et al. (1992), Kharaka et al. (1988) and Wolery (1992). Most of the published work use the same thermodynamic approach, namely a virial coefficient expansion of interactions between ions combined with the Debye-Hückel equation for long range electrostatic energy, with several sub-models depending on composition, temperature and pressure. But, this approach does not capture the behaviour above or close to the critical point of water, see e.g. Driesner (2013) for a critical review. Hence, new fundamental understanding is needed to extend the thermodynamic model description into the region of interest for deep geothermal reservoirs typically up to 500°C and 350 bar.

A companion PhD position on the topic "Modelling of high temperature, high pressure geothermal energy production system" was started at NTNU in January 2018. DeepScale has a somewhat narrower focus on the solubility of gases and minerals in geofluids at high temperatures and pressures, as in the reservoir and parts of the well. DeepScale will set up a collaboration between the two PhD candidates.

Main duties and responsibilities

DeepScale is looking to hire a new PhD fellow for a period of three years, to develop further understanding of scaling from hot geological brines for use in DGE (Deep Geothermal Energy) operations.

The main objective is to support and incorporate data acquired from literature, including also the experimental part of the programme, into a calculation tool that supports equilibrium calculations of aqueous inorganic solutions and mineral precipitates (scaling) at temperatures and pressures relevant for operating geothermal wells at supercritical conditions.

The overall aim is to develop a thermodynamically consistent framework for these purposes, preferably derived from a fundamental energy surface description, typically Helmholtz energy in this case.

Energy surface formalisms ease thermodynamic consistency, while patched models do not.

Qualification requirements

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and [national guidelines for appointment as PhD].

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Other qualifications

  • The applicant must have an MSc (or equivalent) in physical chemistry or physics or related engineering science disciplines, and a documented background also in computer programming and mathematical modelling.
  • Experience with transport phenomena, programming solutions of differential equations, the C++ programming language (or other compiled languages) and software development is an advantage.
  • The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe should document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English(CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Personal characteristics

  • The successful candidate has a strong motivation to perform applied theoretical science.
  • He/she should be independent and structured, and with ability to work problem-oriented.
  • He/she enjoys interdisciplinary research and is interested in learning, teaching and working in teams.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Chemical Engineering. 

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Associate Professor Tore Haug-Warberg, e-mail:

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number NV-94/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 23.09.19

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Chemical Engineering  

We take chemistry from laboratory scale to industrial production. This demands a wide range of knowledge, from molecular processes and nanotechnology to building and operation of large processing plants. We educate graduates for some of Norway's most important industries. The Department of Chemical Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.  

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