PhD position A maritime socio-technical system investigation to determine the potential of policies at local, national and international level

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 16 Aug 2021

To flatten the curve of climate change, urgent actions are needed. In 2019 the European Commission (EC) launched the European Green Deal (EGD) strategy to overcome climate change challenges. Complementary to this the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy was published in December 2020. Greening transport is one of the key objectives of the EGD. Transport accounts for 25% of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The objective of the EGD is to reduce the GHG emissions of transport by 90% by 2050. Waterborne transport accounts for approximately 13% of EU’s transport GHG emissions, which equals to more than 3% of the total EU GHG emissions.

In this context, seaports will play a major role in boosting the use of cleaner technologies, green energy carriers and logistics concepts in maritime transport (sea), port operations (transhipment and storage) and hinterland transport (road, rail, barge, and pipeline) to reduce GHG emissions. The Port of Rotterdam, the largest seaport in Europe with many transport connections for all modes of transport, is frontrunner in the energy transition and has the vision to become a zero-emission port by 2050. Together with the Fellow Ports HAROPA, Sines and DeltaPort (inland port), the Port of Rotterdam supports the EGD sustainability goals. The intention is to perform a large range of pilot projects as input for a Masterplan toward zero emissions in 2050.

For this larger project we are interested in evaluating the impact policies at port, national, international and global level can have in accelerating this transition without losing the competitive advantage of the ports or for the ship owners. Gaining more insights into the potential of various fuels and the conditions under which they might flourish as input for the 2050 Masterplan. These fuels will be competing with each other. A key question is if we will end up in a situation with multiple fuels as a result of synergies with specific vessel types or once more in a winner takes all situation, with one dominant fuel overtaking all competing markets. The pilots and partners will provide insights into the actual viability of all aspects of a fuel (production, transport, storage, bunkering and use) and combined with investigations into existing capacity and the potential for expansion this would form a solid basis for a model to investigate these aspects.

In this PhD project you will state-of-the-art policy research to the specific case of the fuel transition in shipping in order to investigate policy impacts and reactions from ship owners, cargo owners and other relevant players such as fuel suppliers. Through the analysis of the socio-technical system and the myriad of subsystems existing the maritime sector, you will determine an answer to key question like: What will determine the success of a policy, which key adaptations are required? How can we take the uncertainty with regards to actions and changes in circumstances into account? How will policy affect the targeted and related subsectors? How do various policies interact?

As a PhD student, you will be part of a vibrant team of researchers in the Ship Design, Production and Operations groups, with a focus on all aspects of maritime technology. You will be supervised by Assistant prof. Jeroen Pruyn. The group is part of the Maritime and Transport Technology Department , which aspires to conduct world-class research & education focusing on the broader maritime and transport sector. The research is conducted from a deep understanding of the underlying physics and is oriented towards industrial applications and societal needs. 


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