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Division TME - Energy & Environment - Job


Grant for a PhD in engineering (4 years) with subject
‘Evolving electricity generation systems: modeling of system dynamics and integration’

Promoter: Prof. William D’haeseleer
Contact: Dr. Erik Delarue, Prof. William D’haeseleer,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Division of Energy Conversion (TME)
Celestijnenlaan 300A, Post Box 2421, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.
T: +32(0)16 32.25.11.
F: +32(0)16 32.29.85.
E: ;

The Division of Energy Conversion of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leuven (K.U.Leuven), has an open grant for a Ph.D. student in the field of electricity generation systems modeling.

General Scope

Given the threat of global warming, the EU has decided to take action, and committed a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (compared to the level of 1990). On a longer time frame, towards 2050, a zero carbon electricity system might be envisaged. Therefore, future electricity generation systems will face an increasing amount of renewables, often having a non-dispatchable intermittent character. This will require additional flexibility in future systems, to ensure a secure operation. Centralized large units (nuclear and fossil fired power plants equipped with carbon capture and storage) will remain necessary. Different kinds of storage, such as well known pumped hydro storage, will play an important role, but also new options will emerge, such as the batteries of electric cars, and demand shifting by the use of heat pumps, both requiring the deployment of smart metering.

The focus of this PhD is on the detailed modeling of the electricity demand and supply balancing, in this evolving energy landscape. Specific models are required to fundamentally address the short term (operational) aspects of future electricity generation systems. Operations Research modeling techniques can be employed towards this aim. The “Energy and Environment” research group has an excellent research track in electricity generation systems modeling (for an overview of the research activities and publications, see research group’s website )

For more information please contact Dr. Erik Delarue or Prof. William D’haeseleer. For application, please include application letter and extensive CV.

Requirements and competences:

  • Master Degree in engineering, preferably mechanical or energy engineering
  • Advanced knowledge of electricity markets operation and optimization
  • Knowledge of operations research/optimization theory is a strong advantage
  • Programming skills are a significant advantage
  • Good communication and collaboration skills are assets
  • Good English writing and redaction skills for scientific reporting

Specific personal competencies:
Scientifically rigorous, Teaming, Initiative taking, Effective communication, Autonomy, Results orientation, Loyalty.

Good speaking, writing and reading knowledge of English.

Salary and benefits:
The Ph.D. grant is for four years, offering a very competitive salary, including social security. Funding for participation to courses, workshops and international conferences is ensured.

Application deadline: as soon as possible
Decision: as soon as possible
Starting date: as soon as possible

Research environment:
The Division of Energy Conversion of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the K.U.Leuven has an excellent research track in electricity generation systems modeling (see research group’s website )

The K.U.Leuven, situated in Leuven just 20 km east of Brussels, is one of the oldest universities in Europe (founded in 1425). Its rich history and patrimony provides an inspiring research environment, and this is combined with very high standard accommodation.

Leuven is a very agreeable city that is excellently geared to serve almost 30,000 students. The Mechanical Engineering building is situated on its perimeter in a peaceful green park near an ancient Castle. For more information, visit