ERE Energy, Resources and the Environment
The 2020 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Estanislao Pujades for his outstanding research on Underground Pumped Storage Hydropower using abandoned mines, and its interaction with groundwater.
Estanislao Pujades completed his PhD at the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain in 2013 and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research of the Spanish National Research Council (2013-2014) and at the University of Liège in Belgium (2014-2017).
In the short period since earning his PhD, Pujades has made significant contributions to the understanding of the hydrogeochemical changes that occur during operation of Underground Pumped Storage Hydropower (UPSH) plants using abandoned mines. His innovative research in this field has allowed the development of advanced modelling techniques and analytical solutions to evaluate the performance and environmental impacts of UPSH; the identification of the key parameters controlling the environmental impacts and the efficiency of the system, which are mainly controlled by the water exchanges between the mine and the surrounding media; the assessment of the changes in the geochemistry of groundwater, which may not only affect the lifetime and efficiency of UPSH plants, but also impact the environment. All these achievements have led to a much better understanding of UPSH, which should enable its successful deployment and contribute to reaching a low-carbon energy market to mitigate climate change.
Not only has Pujades an impressive publishing track record, but also his research is having a high impact on the scientific community, as shown by the high number of citations, which follow an increasing trend. Furthermore, he has been active as convener organising sessions at EGU General Assemblies during the last two years.