UCL Earth Sciences


Alumni Profiles: Simran Johal

An Engineering Geologist with a passion for geothermal energy development and international development. Geology, engineering geology and geothermal energy fields.

I am an Engineering Geologist with a passion for geothermal energy development and international development. I first started studying Earth Sciences at UCL, where I developed an interest in applying geology to human structures and needs.

Simran Johal  -profile

Caption: 2022 - Started working for ARUP as a Graduate Engineering Geologist.

Therefore, I began to take classes in Soil mechanics and civil engineering. At the same time, taking part in international development such as investing in infrastructure of rural Kenyan schools, even prospectively inspecting for where to drill boreholes (!), gave me a flare for wanting to do more in the field. Similarly with UNICEF, observing the water engineering solely reliant on gravity in rural Ethiopia was an eye opener to the resilient projects I wanted to work on.

Simran Johal profile image - in Ethiopia with UN

Caption: UNICEF - UCL EfID WASH Summer Programme - Ethiopia. 

I then decided to pursue a master at ETH Zürich in Engineering geology. The course covered a range of geological applications to structures, energy and nuclear waste repositories. The geofluids and geothermal energy research group present at ETH further grew my interest in geothermal energy research. Therefore, I got the opportunity to intern for Geo Energie Suisse as a geothermal geologist, analysing a range of data sets from the Bedretto underground lab, a geothermal research tunnel within the Ticinese Alps). The experience, despite being heavily affected by covid-19 restrictions was invaluable and allowed me a peak into the developing geothermal energy research field. The work partaken in the internship was also presented at an industry drilling conference.

Simran Johal  -profile

Caption: At Grimsel Pass - Switzerland.

My thesis research led me to understand how graph theory and fractal geometry can influence fracture network permeability, leading to some cool fieldwork in the grimsel mountains using UAVs t image surface fractures within the grimsel granodioroite.

Simran Johal  -profile

Caption: Chur Pass - Switzerland

 Finally, I decided to apply to work for Arup. There was so much I knew that was going on in the company ranging from bridge foundations to geothermal energy, and the experts driving these fields. I’ve just started working for Arup and have quickly realised that there is so much to explore and discover!