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Alexander Jüstel - Geothermal energy at the Fraunhofer Institute

Alexander Jüstel studied geosciences at the University of Bonn and wrote his bachelor thesis in the field of near-surface geophysics. After his bachelor's degree, he went to Tromsø in Norway for one year and completed two Erasmus semesters at the Arctic University of Norway (IUiT) and then attended several courses in Spitsbergen at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) there. Afterwards he wanted to gain further experience and sailed with the research vessel Maria S. Merian of Geomars in Kiel from the Cape Verde Islands across the equator and accompanied there refraction seismic investigations of the oceanic crust.

He changed to RWTH in 2018 for his master's degree in applied geosciences with a specialization in EMR. After the first two master's semesters, he wanted to gain practical experience and, in addition to an internship at Wintershall Dea, did an internship at CGG in London. After completing his master's degree, he was headhunted directly by CGG, but decided against it because he already realized during his master's degree that he would like to do a doctorate. He wrote his master's thesis with Professor Wellmann at the then CGRE Institute in cooperation with Fraunhofer IEG. Here he created a geological structure model of the Aachen region to drive future geothermal developments in the region. This master thesis is now published

During his studies, he got involved as a first-semester tutor. Alex says he has fond memories of that time, of the motivated young people he met through it. While in college, he also became involved with the local SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) Student Chapter. He originally transferred to RWTH to then work in the oil and gas industry in Norway. He has since changed his mindset about this and wants to be involved in renewable energy research in particular.
At university, he was particularly interested in all the Python courses and the field trips. It was very beneficial from the beginning to be able to program, because today he can use that almost every day in his working life. Alex is glad to have changed to RWTH, however, he felt that there was still a bit of a red thread missing in the studies. He would like to see the modules build on each other more.

After completing his master's thesis, he was offered the opportunity to do his doctorate at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy IEG. The IEG designs climate-neutral energy systems and works on projects with great relevance for climate protection. It was already clear to him during his master's studies that this was his dream. Thus, it was easy for him to find a job, and the choice of his master's thesis made it very easy for him.
His job at the Fraunhofer Institute challenges him, but also makes him very happy. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is one of the largest organizations for application-oriented research in Europe. The Fraunhofer Institutes are dedicated to applied research and the practical implementation of research results. He spent the first two years of his PhD establishing the working group ‚Exploration and Reservoir Simulation‘ first with Prof. Kukla and then with Prof. Wellmann. The working group uses geoscientific and numerical methods for exploration and sustainable use of the underground space. They develop exploration concepts and simulate reservoirs. As part of his doctorate, he is continuing the work of his master's thesis and researching the geothermal potential in the Aachen region. Alex doesn't just work in the office, but also spends time in the field.

After earning his doctorate, he would like to continue working at the Fraunhofer Institute and help develop climate-neutral energy systems of the future.
He advises other geo students to "Do internships, learn programming and gain experience abroad."
When recruiting students for master's theses himself, he pays special attention to their interest and motivation in what they want to do.

He wants geo students to remember. "You can make a difference with your studies. You can make a direct contribution to fighting climate change without being glued to the streets."
He himself is trying to do what he can with his job to help stop climate change.