The deep subsurface is a poorly understood environment although 2-19% of the earth's biomass is located there. Today, we do not understand how nutrients and energy transformation occurs in that environment despite exploiting the deep subsurface for several decades (oil & gas extraction, geothermal heating & power generation). As currently proposed by several developed countries, the deep continental subsurface is probed to host dangerous anthropogenic wastes as spend nuclear fuel and carbondioxide.
My PhD study is focused on the investigation of hydrogen oxidizing biofilms in Opalinus clay (OPA), the chosen host rock for Swiss nuclear waste (low, intermediate and high level radiation). Indigenous bacteria in OPA rock formations around 700 meters below the surface, will consume hydrogen evolving from anaerobic steel corrosion of waste containers and from radiolysis of pore water, most likely producing hydrogen sulphide. The study aims to provide the Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) with the consumption and production rates of gases due to the bacterial metabolism. These findings will allow NAGRA to further improve the design of a safe repository for nuclear wastes and thus will enable lawmakers to make decisions beneficial for future generations.
|M.Sc.||Nanosciences||University of Basel||01/2016|
Fields of expertise
*experiences in photoelectrochemistry, bio-inorganic interfaces, gut microbiota, experimental surgery, genetic engineering and computational chemistry
*currently PhD student, investigating the role of microbial biofilms in low & intermediate level nuclear waste repositories in the deep subsurface