Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Jens Birkholzer

Jens Birkholzer Portrait

Jens Birkholzer

Deputy Division Director

Nuclear Energy & Waste Program Lead

Hydrogeology Department

Phone: 510-486-7134

Fax: 510-486-5686

Email: jtbirkholzer@lbl.gov

Researcher ID: C-6783-2011

Biographical Summary

Jens Birkholzer is a staff scientist in the Earth Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he currently serves as the Deputy Division Director and leads the Nuclear Energy & Waste Program. Jens received his Ph.D. in water resources, hydrology, and soil science from Aachen University of Technology in Germany in 1994. He joined LBNL in 1994 as geological scientist, left for a management position in his native Germany in 1999, and eventually returned to LBNL as a staff scientist in 2001. Dr. Birkholzer has over 300 scientific publications, about 90 of which are in peer-reviewed
journals, in addition to numerous research reports.

Jens' area of expertise is subsurface hydrology with emphasis on coupled fluid, gas, solute and heat transport in complex subsurface systems. His research is mostly in the context of modeling and data evaluation related to risk/performance assessment, e.g., for geologic disposal of radioactive wastes, for geologic CO2 storage, and for environmental remediation. In the area of radioactive waste disposal, he has focused on understanding temperature-driven flow and transport processes within and near waste emplacement tunnels, via experiments and predictive modeling. In the area of CO2 storage, Jens works on better understanding the potential environmental risks of geologic carbon seques­tration to groundwater resources, for example by monitoring and modeling the potential water quality changes arising from leakage of CO2 through fractures and faults into potable aquifers.

Education

  • 1993 - 1994: Ph.D. in Water Resources, “Multi Continua Modeling of Solute Transport in Frac­tured Porous Media”, Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany, Civil Engi­neering School
  • 1988: Master Thesis, “Continuum Behavior of Fracture Networks Considering Large Scale Flow Problems in Fractured Rock”, Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany, Civil Engineering School
  • 1985 - 1988: M.Sc. in Civil Engineering (Diplom), Majors: Water Resources, Hydraulic Engineering, Soil Sciences and Rock Mechanics, Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany, Civil Engineering School
  • 1982-1985 - B.Sc. in Civil Engineering (Vor-Diplom), Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany, Civil Engineering School

Professional Experience

  • 2014 - present:  Deputy Director, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA
  • 2008 - present:  Program Lead, Nuclear Energy and Waste, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA
  • 2001 - present: Staff Scientist and Group Leader, Earth Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA
  • 1999 - 2001:  Chief Engineer and Project Manager, Construction of the New International Airport in Dusseldorf, HOCHTIEF AG, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 1994 - 1998:  Geological Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA
  • 1989 - 1994:  Research Associate (since 1993 Group Leader), Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (IWW), Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany

Honors and Awards

  • 2012, Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement (TOUGH codes), by LBNL
  • 2007, 1997, "Outstanding Performance Award", LBNL
  • 1995-1996, Postdoctoral fellowship, Humboldt-Stiftung (1 year)
  • 1995, "Friedrich-Wilhelm Award" for Ph.D. Thesis, Aachen University
  • 1995, "Borchers Award" for Ph.D. Thesis, Aachen University
  • 1994-1995, Postdoctoral fellowship, German Academic Exchange Organization (1 year)
  • 1989, Research-fellowship German Academic Exchange Organization (3 months)
  • 1989, "Springorum Award" for Summa Cum Laude M.Sc., Aachen University
  • 1989, "Hunnebeck Award" for best Master Thesis, Hunnebeck Society
  • 1986, Member, "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes", Scholarship for Excellent Students, German Government