Industry Engaged Scholarship Opportunity: Underground Hydrogen Storage in Sedimentary Rocks - Multi Scale Geochemical and Bio-reactive Transport Modelling

Applications open
Open now
Applications close
30 November 2022
Payment per year
$28,854 per annum plus a $13,000 supplementary scholarship
4 years
Postgraduate Research
Australian Citizens
Australian Permanent Residents
New Zealand Citizens
Type of Scholarship
Available In
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology (SET)
Available To

Hydrogen is proposed as a low carbon, versatile and energy-dense fuel of the future that will be seen to drive transportation, heat our homes and provide power to many industrial applications. National and commercial organisations around the world are pivoting towards the opportunity to develop a new hydrogen energy infrastructure and fill links in the supply-to-use value chain. A hydrogen economy will be a fast-moving, global enterprise requiring an agile infrastructure that can source and deliver hydrogen in large quantities at short notice. Large-scale distributed storage reserves will be key to smoothing out the variations in supply versus demand over time. Subsurface geological storage of natural gas (Methane) currently achieves this on a seasonal basis for major population centres around the world. Pore space (void space) within sedimentary rock is ‘real estate’ for the temporary or permanent containment of fluids. Pore space aggregated over cubic kilometres of rock, hosts hydrocarbon accumulations, groundwater, CO2, in the context of Carbon geostorage, and geothermal fluids cycled to provide heat or a working fluid for power generation. It is hoped pore space (e.g., aquifers and depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs) will also host hydrogen as part of large-scale temporary storage in the hydrogen energy supply infrastructure of the future. However, given there is limited experience with hydrogen naturally occurring in the subsurface, there are many unknowns regarding the capability of such systems to host and retain hydrogen. Several studies have shown that hydrogen may disturb geochemical and microbiological equilibrium conditions of the system, that may result in the dissolution of the rock and/or the precipitation of solid particles, blocking the pore throats. Also, hydrogen is far less dense, less viscous and more mobile than other fluids more familiar to practitioners of subsurface fluid operations.

In this PhD project, we intend to develop multiscale and multiphysics simulation models that in particular consider the physiochemical property of hydrogen, hysteresis and its geochemical and microbiological interaction with rock and existing reservoir fluids. The model together with robust optimization algorithms will be used to assist with selecting and preparing prospective sites and managing storage systems that often involve frequent injection/withdrawal cycles while considering integrity and geological and phenomenological uncertainty. The developed package will be tested against a number of potential project scenarios, provided by the sponsor.



  • 3-6-month research internship with Woodside Energy (not affiliated with Woodside Energy’s Summer Vacation Program or Graduate Development Program).
  • Access to authorised travel and research project funds available
  • Work alongside world-leading researchers
  • CaRST program: Free professional development to enhance your employability skills
  • Exposure to industry networks and experts in the field
  • No Tuition fees! These are waived for eligible candidates
  • Access state-of-the-art technology
  • Become a field expert and make a real contribution to solving global challenges
  • Publish your contributions and impact our communities and society.


Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia

Applicants who hold an Honours or Master degree in a relevant field, e.g., petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, geophysics or applied mathematics, would be especially suitable and encouraged to apply.

Applicants with a strong numerical mathematics background (Finite Element or Finite Volume methods) and a keen interest in at least one of the following fields, subsurface flow, CFD, hydrology, geochemistry and reaction kinetics, will be considered favourably.

Applicants with well-developed written and verbal communication skills (demonstrated through publications) will be considered favourably.

If successful, this project will require the applicant to execute a  Student Deed Poll which considers intellectual property ownership and confidentiality obligations.



The scholarship will be for 4 years and has a stipend of $ 41,854 per annum.

It is likely to be tax exempt, subject to Taxation Office approval.


Contact Person: Mohammad Sayyafzadeh

School/Discipline of:  Australian School of Petroleum & Energy Resources

Tel: 08 8313 8023                Email:



Please apply by completing an expression of interest form. Expressions of interest should be submitted no later than 31/10/2022  and should be sent to Mohammad Sayyafzadeh ( with the name of scholarship in the subject heading.