Postdoctoral Position in Environmental Sciences

18 months Postdoc position in Environmental sciences on assessing the environmental risks of the transition from fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) to hydrogen through : 1/ a deep literature survey ; 2/ a fine-scale modeling of atmospheric methane and hydrogen plumes and emission sources in the Aix-Marseille area (France) ; 3/ field campaigns for atmospheric plumes sampling on emission sources ; and 4/ a proactive transdisciplinary collaboration.

 

Date posted

June 11, 2024 1:30 pm

Application deadline

July 3, 2024 12:00 pm

Organization

Aix Marseille Universite

Location

  • France

Job description

18 months Postdoc position in Environmental sciences on assessing the environmental risks of the transition from fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) to hydrogen through : 1/ a deep literature survey ; 2/ a fine-scale modeling of atmospheric methane and hydrogen plumes and emission sources in the Aix-Marseille area (France) ; 3/ field campaigns for atmospheric plumes sampling on emission sources ; and 4/ a proactive transdisciplinary collaboration.

RESEARCH FIELD : Environmental sciences
MAIN SUB RESEARCH FIELD OR DISCIPLINES : Atmospheric and climate sciences, social sciences

JOB /OFFER DESCRIPTION :

The work place is located in the south-east of France close to the Mediterranean Sea, 10 km south of Aix-en-Provence and 30 km north of Marseille, on the pine tree covered campus called “Arbois”. It is accessible by public transportation. The hosting institute, IMBE (https://www.imbe.fr/l-imbe.html), focuses its research activities on studying ecology and biodiversity at different time scales. IMBE is part of the A*MIDEX/ITEM, the Institute for the Environmental Transition in the Mediterranean Area of Aix-Marseille University (https://www.univ-amu.fr/fr/public/institut-mediterraneen-pour-la-transition-environnementale-item).

The proposed job will be conducted in the framework of the HYFLEX project, funded by ITEM. HYFLEX is a transdisciplinary project aiming at understanding the stakes and risks of the energy transition from fossil fuels to hydrogen but also the underlying mechanisms such as the perception of these risks by the population, stakeholders and socio-economic actors, for shedding light on the current trajectory and flexibility points of this transition. It is based on transdisciplinary collaboration with sociologists, political scientists, physicists and ecologists from the ITEM Institute, and exchanges with socio-economic and political actors.

Hydrogen (H2) is an inflammable gas, exposing ecosystems and population to risks of fire. It is also much fugitive, which implies a risk of leaks on H2 production, compression, storage, transport and consumption infrastructures. Once in the atmosphere, hydrogen would act as an indirect greenhouse. Hydrogen could have other environmental impacts such as the increase of tropospheric ozone and a depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. The environmental footprint of hydrogen also depends on its production chain (https://www.fastechus.com/blog/the-colors-of-hydrogen-explained). Other environmental risks include explosion.

The Aix-Marseille area is much concerned by the transition to hydrogen, especially through the Hygreen Provence project (https://www.capenergies.fr/projet/hygreen-provence/). Hygreen aims at producing green hydrogen from water electrolysis performed by photovoltaic electricity on the territory of the Durance-Lubéron-Verdon Agglomération (DLVA), and to store it on the current natural gas storage site Geomethane at Manosque (https://www.geomethane.fr/). Hydrogen would then be transported by pipes to replace fossil fuels in the industrial area of Fos-Berre west of Marseille, and further north in Lyon and Grenoble industrial infrastructures.

We seek for a proactive postdoctoral fellow specialized in Environmental sciences to conduct the following tasks :

1- Analyzing the environmental risks of the Hygreen project, with a major focus on the risks of H2 leaks on production, compression, storage, transportation infrastructures and consumption. This task will be conducted through a deep literature survey.

2- Modeling methane plumes emitted from the Geomethane site as a first proxy of potential future hydrogen leaks, using methane data collected by mobile CRDS measurements (started in Spring 2024) in collaboration with a phD fellow at IMBE, and quantifying the emissions associated to these plumes with a comparison to the local emissions inventory to help providing better information on current regional greenhouse gas emissions. An attempt at providing a quantitative impact of these leaks on climate through a combination of literature survey and modeling results will be performed.

3- Attempting at measuring directly H2 leaks on industrial sites in the Fos-Berre area already Producing hydrogen, and modeling these plumes (or virtual ones in case of no leak) to understand their propagation into the atmosphere. This task will be performed with the WINDTRAX fine scale model. The instrumentation will comprise a commercial detector and possibly gas chromatography measurements performed in collaboration with the RHUL Institute in London, GB.

4- Helping coordinate exchanges between social and environmental scientists.

TYPE OF CONTRACT: Temporary
JOB STATUS: FULL TIME
HOURS PER WEEK: 35
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 07/03/2024 12:00 CEST
STARTING DATE: 09/16/2024
DURATION: 18 months
 
HOW TO APPLY :
E-mail: irene.xueref-remy@imbe.fr
Website: https://www.univ-amu.fr/fr/public/resultats-aap-item-2020-projets-de-recherche-la-transition-en-action and https://www.imbe.fr/irene-xueref-remy.html

WORK LOCATION(S):
Aix-Marseille Université / IMBE (Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale) - Bâtiment Villemin - Campus Aix Technopôle de l’environnement Arbois Méditerranée - Avenue Louis Philibert - 13545 Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 4 – FRANCE.

WHAT WE OFFER:
- Gross salary depends on professional background : the first year ranging from 2466 € to 2891€/month and the second year (last 6 months) between 2744 and 3169€/month.
- Reimbursement of 75% of the public transportation costs from local home (within Aix-Marseille area) to work place.

Additional information: The Euraxess Center of Aix-Marseille Université informs foreign visiting professors, researchers, postdoc and PhD candidates about the administrative steps to be undertaken prior to arrival at AMU and the various practical formalities to be completed once in France: visas and entry requirements, insurance, help finding accommodation, support in opening a bank account, etc. More information on AMU EURAXESS Portal

QUALIFICATIONS and REQUIREMENTS :
- The candidate must hold a phD in Environmental Sciences with proven experience in atmospheric sciences and atmospheric modelling. Any experience in studying greenhouse gases and/or the transition to hydrogen are a plus. Experience with field measurements and data treatment/analysis will be welcome.
- Solid skills in computer programming.
- Solid skills in English (reading, writing).
- Solid skills in international literature survey and oral/written synthesis.
 
Soft skills:
- Autonomous, proactive, communicative. Teamwork, flexibility and adaptability, analytical and critical thinking, co-operation with social scientists.
- An interest in dialogue with the social sciences will be highly appreciated.A correct communication level in French (speaking, reading, writing) is a strong plus.
- A car driving licence is required.

REQUESTED DOCUMENTS OF APPLICATION, ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, SELECTION PROCESS :
A curriculum vitae, two reference letters (with names and contact details), and a motivation letter should be sent to Irène Xueref-Remy (irene.xueref-remy@imbe.fr) before July 3rd, 2024, 12:00 CEST. Candidates will be auditioned in July (remote interview is possible).