Postdoctoral Research Associate position – Monitoring design for carbon storage in seafloor basalts

Area: Monitoring design for carbon storage in seafloor basalts
Duration: Initial 1 year appointment, renewable.
Start Date: March 2021 (negotiable)
Salary: CAD50,000-60,000 per annum, plus applicable benefits
Application Deadline: Evaluation of applications will begin in February 2021. Open until filled.

To support our Solid Carbon feasibility study project, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC, a University of Victoria initiative) is seeking an individual with a PhD in geophysics or geosciences as a postdoctoral research associate to start early 2021.

Anticipated research will include the evaluation and planning of a complex monitoring campaign for CO2 sequestration in the deep ocean basalt rocks in the Cascadia Basin, about 200 km offshore Vancouver Island.

Solid Carbon is an exciting new project that aims to capture CO2 from the air and to sequester it in the basalt rock beneath the seafloor where it will mineralize. Ocean Networks Canada is leading this initiative and will contribute to it through its operation of a suite of cabled sensors at the location of the injection experiment, by 2700m water depths. This infrastructure will be able to monitor both the injection and mineralization processes in real time and for an extended period of time. The sediments above the basalts are 300-600 m thick. The natural mineralization of the CO2 into carbonate is being modelled by the team. Other aspects of this project include air capture of CO2 on floating platforms that generate their own energy through wind or solar, leading to a sustainable negative emission technology. Others in the project team evaluate the public, regulatory and investor acceptance. The project is funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

The successful candidate will be working under the supervision of Dr. Martin Scherwath, Dr. Stan Dosso and Dr. Kate Moran alongside a large team of experts in various fields. The research will help evaluate various methods to monitor the environment prior, during and post injection of the CO2 into the deep sea basalt. The monitoring will include the propagation and ultimate mineralization of the injected carbon.

The successful candidate will work on many, if not all, currently suggested methods of monitoring, including:

  • Modelling of induced seismicity and assessing the potential earthquake risk from CO2 injection in the Cascadia Basin
  • Survey design for induced seismicity monitoring as well as active-source seismics, including surface (streamer), seafloor (cable) and downhole (VSP) to monitor the sequestration process.
  • Assessment of the potential for subsea conductivity alteration from CO2 injection, including the detection of possible formation of CO2 hydrate inside its stability field should CO2 leak from the hot crust upwards into the colder sediments.
  • Planning sonar scanning on the seafloor to detect any gas leakage.
  • Help design fluid (OSMO) sampling in the formation for multi parameter lab analysis of the collected water samples.

This research will result in a detailed monitoring plan laying out the injection pilot demonstration test and possible long-term monitoring to assess the effectiveness of CO2 sequestration in deep sea basalts.

Since the planning stage of Solid Carbon is to happen well before actually carrying out the demonstration experiment, we expect the research to be mostly on modelling using synthetic data and working out reasonable assumptions on any possible environmental changes. Funding is being sought to perform the demonstration on site. Success would lead to the possibility of extending the position.

Qualifications:

  • A PhD in geophysics, geoscience or a related field
  • Excellent understanding of at least one of the main topics of 1) induced seismicity or 2) controlled source electromagnetic measurements, ideally both
  • Experience with modelling of synthetic data and experiment design
  • Familiarity with carbon capture and sequestration
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Application details:

Applications, consisting of a single PDF file combining the four documents listed below, should be emailed directly to Dr. Martin Scherwath (mscherwa@uvic.ca). Please also direct any inquiries about the position to Dr. Scherwath.

Required documents:

  1. A 1-page cover letter expressing interest in this position
  2. A CV with a list of all publications
  3. A 1-page research statement summarizing previous research experience
  4. The names and contact information of at least two referees with knowledge of your research and academic experience

More information about the project can be found at https://www.solidcarbon.ca and https://pics.uvic.ca/projects/solid-carbon-negative-emissions-technology-feasibility-study.

To learn more about Ocean Networks Canada, visit https://www.oceannetworks.ca.

UVic is committed to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our living, learning and work environments. In pursuit of our values, we seek members who will work respectfully and constructively with differences and across levels of power. We actively encourage applications from members of groups experiencing barriers to equity. Read the full equity statement here: www.uvic.ca/equitystatement.

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