PhD position in assessing the environmental impacts of future global hydropower expansion

Updated: 20 days ago
Deadline: 01 Jan 2022

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About the position

The position is part of the SusHydro project that seeks to find innovative and cross-sectoral solutions that shed light on a wider range of services that hydropower and water reservoirs can contribute and shed light on how synergies and conflicts between different sustainability goals can be identified and balanced. SusHydro will do this by putting together a team of experienced professionals and talented young researchers with a background in hydrology and water resource analysis, life cycle assessment, modeling of the energy system, economics, biology and social sciences. Solutions will be developed through case studies in Norway and areas of Africa with rich hydropower resources.

The topic of this specific PhD project is the development of life cycle assessment (LCA) models and applications related to hydropower production. The idea is to use life cycle assessment (LCA) to make a global impact screening of planned and possible hydropower reservoirs on a global scale. The project will build on previous work of the Industrial Ecology Programme which quantified the impacts of land use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions of reservoir operations on biodiversity. In addition, the project should consider impacts from the dam construction, other ecosystem impacts, as well as impacts on human well-being. The LCA results can inform other PhD projects in the SusHydro project about potential hotspots of impacts and will highlight where detailed local studies can be performed. We will develop scenarios for transformative electricity market changes and analyse the differences in impacts, based on input from the other PhD projects to calibrate the model. These scenarios and storylines of the scenarios will be adopted throughout the project.


Interdisciplinary collaboration within the SusHydro project and the Industrial Ecology group are envisaged.

The Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol) is a well-established interdisciplinary group in the field of environmental sustainability analysis. Researchers at IndEcol participate in international expert groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Resource Panel (IRP), the Life Cycle Initiative hosted by UN Environment, as well as international collaborative projects.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås . The position’s supervisor is Professor Francesca Verones , the co-supervisors are Professor Tor Haakon Bakken (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and researchers Irja Ida Ratikainen (Department of Biology) and Martin Dorber (Industrial Ecology Programme).


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