PhD Projects

PhD Projects

Simulation and optimisation of geothermal systems are necessary for technical and economic feasibility studies and also crucial for the process understanding of the systems such as thermal mixing by dispersion. KIT will develop simulations tools such as analytical models that will be verified by UoM researchers through simulations and be validated in the field. Unique to this project is the combined expertise of researchers from existing geothermal installations at both institutions. The analyses and simulations will be accompanied by holistic cost, risk and life-cycle studies. One route to minimise running costs in geothermal systems may be to use cheaper horizontal ground heat exchangers in areas/sectors, where energy infrastructure is lacking or to develop hybrid systems or to store energy in the ground by using aquifer thermal energy (ATES) systems instead of only direct use To increase the awareness and acceptance of geothermal energy harvesting, its integration in rural and urban energy planning will be also explored including the evaluation of the heating and cooling demands in cities.


Global probabilistic climate projections, mitigation pathways and the goals of limiting global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C under consideration of aerosol radiative forcing uncertainties. This project is a synthesis exercise to capture CMIP6 insights and analysis of aerosol influence on cloud radiative effects, e.g. via CMIP representations of cloud properties and changes relative to insights gained from satellite observations.

Cloud processing of aerosols during their lofting in convective clouds - resulting microphysical properties of aerosols in the TTL and their impact on cirrus formation. Understanding the role of tropical ocean aerosols on cloud and precipitation processes. This project links with Year of the Maritime Continent logistics.

This task will make use of the existing energy system models PowerACE and PERSEUS for the German electricity system. As a basis, an in-depth techno-economic analysis of  the future energy technologies, such as heat pumps, PV, local storages and electric vehicles, in the decentralized electricity systems is undertaken, which focuses on the individual generation costs and the potential to provide flexibilities on the decentral level (which makes the given demand cost-sensitive). The German model will also consider electricity exchanges with neighbouring countries.

This project focuses on developing a model for the life cycle energy analysis of district energy systems (e.g. district heating/cooling, embedded electricity networks, district energy network, etc.) for buildings. The project will use the advanced Path Exchange Hybrid method to quantify embodied energy, allowing a more holistic understanding of the energy performance of various district energy systems. The model will allow designers to evaluate and optimise the life cycle energy performance of district energy systems.


If you have an idea of what you would like to work on in the climate and energy space, then please don't hold back to develop your own PhD topic. You will have to find suitable supervisors and your topic should fit into the more global scope of the Climate & Energy College (see our scope described here). 

This PhD project will investigate the new set of SSP-RCP emission and concentration scenarios, to be released in 2016/2017. One focus could be to look at the dynamics of potentially swift technology shifts that could - on a global level - lead to emission budgets consistent with warming of less than 2C or 1.5C, the Paris Agreement goals. From those insights, strategic investment opportunities as well as policy implications (for example sustainable biomass and CCS) could be derived. Further areas of research will include: the extent to which current investments in the energy sector could become stranded investments; the dynamics of penetration rates of renewable energies once they become economically competitive in more market sectors; and the technological, institutional and regulatory limits to penetration rates. Interested PhD candidates will be asked to frame the subject matter according to their own research interests.

The Paris Agreement and its Art. 4.1 charted the goal of anthropogenic emissions: to be in balance with anthropogenic sinks in the latter half of the century. This PhD could look at the regional implications of such a goal (and the transition towards it) from both a geoscientific point of view (land-use needs, CCS potentials, remainder agricultural emissions), metrics to compare differnt greenhouse gases (how is a balance defined exactly), the transition dynamics towards such a goal (thanks to a meta-scenario analysis of the SSP-RCP database), and the climate implications of different greenhouse gases (with the help of the climate-carbon cycle model MAGICC for example). The PhD candidate will be asked to refine the research question according to its own research interests.

The future evolution of extreme climatic events - particularly droughts, heat waves, cold spells and extreme rainfall - is crucial to evaluating future climatic impacts on society. In our previous work we have developed a method to derive the probability of record-breaking events from climatic trend and variance estimates. This approach has been successfully used for gridded observational temperature data sets for the past century. In this PhD project, this statistical approach can be applied to analyse additional observational data sets, other than monthly gridded temperatures. It can also be applied to generate spatially explicit scenarios for the frequency of future record-breaking extreme events, based on the large-scale climate projections of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP-5 and CMIP-6). 

This PhD research project will focus on the characteristics of the Earth Climate system as modelled by the CMIP6 suite of climate models. The specific focus area will be defined by the PhD candidate. The basic study object will be the CMIP6 ensemble model runs that will become available in the next years. The working horse will be the MAGICC climate model and refined or new parameterisations of those uncertainty ranges in Earth System responses (as seen in CMIP5 and CMIP6 models). For example, building a simplified carbon-cycle model that includes a nitrogen cycle. Alternatively, building a number of gas cycles that take into account different tropospheric OH, photolysis and other sinks for a wide array of greenhouse gases. The PhD candidate could also look at other areas of her/his interest that are part (or could become part) of the MAGICC model (see The MAGICC model is one of the primary tools to determine an emission scenarios likelihood to stay below 1.5C or 2C and was widely used in IPCC AR5. Strong modelling capabilities in Fortran and MATLAB are an advantage.

This project is about synthesising integrated assessment knowledge by developing water, food, and socio- economic impact emulators. Probabilistic quantifications of water, food and socio-economic impacts at different levels of global warming, including uncertainty assessments, are rare but seriously needed in the context of the discussion about mitigation targets. This PhD thesis is dedicated to the development of simplified impact emulators and will be based on the ISI-MIP ( data set that provides for the first time consistent multi-model global scale projections of climate impacts within the water, biomes, agriculture and health sector. Emulators will have different levels of complexity, reaching from simple scaling with global mean temperature, via linear response functions accounting for the history of the forcing, to non-linear tools. In addition to global mean temperature, regional climate changes or extreme indicators will be tested as potential predictors. In close coordination with project 3.3, the developed impact emulators will form the second level of EXPACT building on the regional geophysical climate projections generated on the first level. Quantification of the inter-impact-model spread of the projections will finally allow for highly efficient probabilistic impact projections. 

Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.