PhD scholarship in Data-Driven Predictive Methods in Energy Management of Smart Buildings – Unlocking Cross-Sectoral Flexibility

Updated: 2 months ago

Would you like to contribute creating the advanced virtual “housekeeper” of the future?

The Centre for Electric Power and Energy (CEE) at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DTU) invites applications for a 3-year PhD position in “Data-driven predictive methods in energy management for smart buildings unlocking cross-sectoral flexibility”. The PhD project is funded by DTU joint alliance research program, aiming at strengthening the research collaborations with alliance universities. This specific project targets a research collaboration between DTU and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

More flexibility is required from both the generation and demand side to ensure a reliable, stable and cost-effective operation of the future power system, a system with high penetration of renewables and high levels of uncertainty and variability from the intermittent wind and solar resources. Meanwhile, building energy consumption makes up 30–40% of global greenhouse gas emission and energy consumption, among which up to 85% is consumed in the operation phase. Electrified heating, district heating systems, thermal storage and smart buildings potentially may provide demand side flexibility.

The focus of this PhD study is how to activate and maximize the demand side flexibility from smart buildings interacting with heat storages, the power system and the district heating system; what we call integrated demand response.

Responsibilities and tasks
The main objective of this PhD project is to study how data-driven methods can enable smart buildings actively to interact with the electric power system and the district heating system, thus unleashing the cross sectoral operational flexibility. In this project you will be using data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) aided heat demand forecast, and machine learning-based model (or model-free) optimal predictive control strategies for developing energy management systems. We anticipate you working with one or more of the following research tasks:

  • Using (big-) data from smart building and communities for identifying and maximizing the potential flexibility in thermal inertia, built in thermal and electrical storage systems (e.g. thermal accumulators, battery electric energy storage systems, heat pumps etc.)
  • Identifying the most relevant data-driven techniques for optimal predictive control-based building energy management system (BEMS), such as heat demand forecast, control-oriented models  or model free autonomous learning BEMS.
  • Improving solver performance for multi-objective, multi-timescale, nonconvex and nonlinear optimal operation problems for BEMS by considering some new methods such as AI-enabled, machine learning, and other new data-driven algorithms.
  • Investigating how the data-driven model and control solutions for one building can be made portable and scalable to multiple buildings/neighbourhood ;
  • Evaluating the potential of cross-sector operational flexibility in the context of computer simulation and hardware-in-the-loop simulation. A major task will be proof-of-concept testing at NTNU ZEB Test Cell Lab ( ) and at DTU's experimental platform PowerLabDK ( )

This scholarship offers the opportunity for an optional double degree (DTU and NTNU) which requires at least 12 month of guest stay at NTNU.

You should hold a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in electrical engineering, computer science or similar. Degrees obtained at latest during summer 2021 are also eligible to apply.

You are our ideal candidate if you are a self-motivated team player who enjoys working with complex topics and thrive in an international environment where your collaboration with industry help pave the way towards a sustainable future. Furthermore, we would like to see you as an active role model contributing with the following competences:   

  • Background in control and mathematical modelling
  • Knowledge in electricity and district heating system operation and renewable energy integration
  • Knowledge in artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques
  • Knowledge and experience of nonlinear/convex optimization,
  • Programming skill with Python, R or MATLAB/Simulink, etc.
  • Experience with experimental work
  • Excellent mastering of the English language
  • Ability to present results in technical reports, and in preparing scientific papers for publication in international journals

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Chresten Træholt and Senior Researcher Yi Zong.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

At the Center for Electric Power and Energy you will be part of a vibrant, welcoming and diverse environment with an international atmosphere and strong links to the world-leading Danish energy industry. You will join a team of fellow PhD-students within the field, and you can get access to our cutting-edge experimental facilities, PowerLabDK ( ). 

Every Friday, you are invited to have breakfast with your colleagues at DTU Risø Campus from different research groups.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The workplace is at DTU Risø Campus. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Yi Zong, tel.: +45 5164 7469; Email: .    

You can read more about DTU Electrical Engineering at and about the Center for Electric Power and Energy at .

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark

Your complete online application must be submitted no later than30 May 2021 (local time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Electrical Engineering educates students within electrical engineering technologies. We offer studies at BEng, BSc, MSc and PhD levels, and participate in joint international programmes. We conduct state-of-the-art research within antenna and microwave technology, robot technology, power and physical electronics, acoustic environment, electro-acoustics, electric power and energy. Our department has more than 200 members of staff.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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