PhD position: Assessment and optimization of a fully-renewable European energy infrastructure

Updated: 19 days ago
Job Type: Permanent

In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Risk and Reliability Engineering (RRE) group, within the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, is looking for a doctoral student working on the assessment and optimization of a future fully-renewable European energy infrastructure. The PhD position is well connected with other research projects at RRE, which deal with the assessment and optimization of a variety of energy systems and energy-carrier networks, as well as with the assessment of policy mechanisms to foster the transition to fully-renewable energy systems. The RRE group is headed by Prof. Dr. Giovanni Sansavini and generally focuses on the optimization and assessment of complex systems and infrastructures with an emphasis on safe and resilient design and operations.


Project background

The transition to a net-zero-carbon-emissions (net-zero) European energy system requires a significant increase in renewable generation capacity with respect to current values. However, where exactly all this infrastructure should be built, how it should be fostered, and how it will interact with different energy and industry sectors, is still controversial. This calls for a holistic analysis of future energy systems within the energy trilemma paradigm, where economic, environmental, and security performance must be balanced.


Job description

The goal of the project is to develop decision-making tools for supporting investment and operation decisions addressing the questions above. This will be done:

  • by adopting state-of-the-art modeling techniques to simulate the future spatial and temporal evolutions of a fully-renewable electricity system, alongside their impact on electricity prices and carbon intensities of the electricity grids;
  • by expanding and developing cutting-edge optimization models to determine the optimal system evolution when looking at economic, environmental and security indicators;
  • by assessing the impact of state-of-the-art market mechanisms, such as power purchase agreements (PPAs), on the deployment of renewable energy sources;
  • by investigating the coupling of the electricity system with a variety of energy sectors where electricity demand will most likely increase in the future, such as heating and mobility.

To address these points, you will have access to state-of-the-art computational capabilities, and you will be in contact with experts within ETH Zurich and worldwide.


Your profile

We are looking for a proactive and highly motivated candidate, with a MSc in a quantitative discipline (such as engineering, applied physics or mathematics) from an internationally recognized University and an excellent academic track record. Ideally, you have a background in quantitative modeling, optimization, and programming (e.g., Matlab, Python, Julia, GAMS). Knowledge of mixed-integer linear programming solvers (e.g., CPLEX, Gurobi, MOSEK), of modeling environments (e.g., Yalmip, Pyomo, CVX, CVXPY) and of uncertainty quantification are a plus.

You should be able to speak and write clearly in English. Furthermore, you will need to enjoy working in a competitive, dynamic, diverse, and international environment with other doctoral students and postdocs.


ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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