PhD position in Process Systems Engineering for e-Refinery

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 02 Dec 2022

PhD position in Process Systems Engineering for e-Refinery
PhD position in Process Systems Engineering for e-Refinery
Published Deadline Location
today 2 Dec Delft

We are seeking a highly motivated Ph.D. student with an interest in Process Systems Engineering and Process Intensification to join our group at TU Delft.
Job description

Optimal Process Integration of Technologies for e-Refinery

The Delft e-Refinery institute brings researchers and industrial partners together to focus on the electrochemical conversion of sustainable electricity, water and air into fuels and chemical building blocks, from the molecular scale to large-scale system integration. Implementing e-Refinery serves key challenges that the society is facing: CO2 neutral fuels, seasonal energy storage and a defossilized chemical industry.

In the e-Refinery context, a conventional process design can be made to establish a flowsheet structure, equipment sizing, the mass and energy balances, and a cost estimate. However, a conventional conceptual design may deliver only a static picture, as it often assumes steady state operation around a few operating points.That would be insufficient to ensure a high degree of functional success of an implemented design in the operational phase, so it is crucial that operational features are not overlooked in the process design. Moreover, it is important to understand well the interaction between different components of a process system, in order to identify e.g. key risks and improvement opportunities.

The overall objective is to deliver a process design with a very high operational robustness, resilience and performance. The following items (among others) need to be addressed:

  • Scale-up of process components with the objective of maintaining the high functionality & performance obtained at smaller scales in lab.
  • Process integration aspects (e.g. by adding power as an energy resource to the conventional mix of thermal heat carriers) and sustainability metrics of the full process.
  • Process system operability aspects, including: “switch-ability” (intrinsic ability to operate in different periodic / dynamic modes over many cycles), "observability” (instrumentation for reconstruction of actual physical process states for performance analysis), “controllability” being able to steer the process through target modes of operation to meet KPI’s in spite of external disturbances), and “stability” (robustness against disturbances inside the process)
  • Reliability & availability for production in the process, as to secure a high “functional run-time” between successive failures. Predict system failure rate, and determine redundancy.
  • Improving performance indicators: optimum economics & sustainability measures (incl. their trade-offs) and best ways to implement these in a full e-refinery process
  • Test programs design: Which are the critical sections in a design and which situations should be further tested in pilot runs with a demo plant? Combining various modelling approaches can deliver a very thorough exploration of the functioning of a design prior to its construction & operation.
  • This PhD position has a duration of four years, with an ideal start date of February 2023 (negotiable). 

    • 36—40 hours per week
    • €2541—€3247 per month
    • Delft View on Google Maps

    Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


    We are looking for top candidates that meet the following criteria:

    • Master’s degree in a relevant field such as chemical / process engineering;;
    • Prior experience with process modeling and simulations, and process integration;
    • Creative, open-minded, independent and proactive;
    • Excellent theoretical, analytical, and simulation skills;
    • Great team player, willing to learn and collaborate;
    • Good English communication and writing skills.

    Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

    Conditions of employment

    Fixed-term contract: 4 years (1,5 and 2,5 year).

    A start date of 1st of February 2023 (negotiable)

    Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

    Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

    The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

    Delft University of Technology

    Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

    At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

    Challenge. Change. Impact!

    Faculty Applied Sciences

    With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science communicators.

    Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

    Additional information

    For more information about this vacancy, please contact A.A. Kiss.

    Working at TU Delft

    Join the oldest and largest technical university in the Netherlands. Work on clever solutions for worldwide challenges, to change the world and make an impact. Ready to bring your energy to our research?

    Challenge, change, impact!

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    Application procedure

    Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 30-11-2022 via the application button and upload:

    • a motivation letter (max 1 A4 page)
    • a CV (max 3 A4 pages)
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s transcript / grade report
    • the names and contact details of three references
    • Master's certificate (diploma)
    • Proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS/CAE) (if available)

    You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post. Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

    The available position will be filled as soon as possible (i.e. once a suitable candidate is found). This means that the selection of candidates will already start before the application deadline.

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