PhD position: integrated community and district energy system modelling

Updated: 21 days ago
Job Type: Permanent

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100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Chair of Energy Systems Analysis (ESA), within the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich, is looking for a doctoral student working on geospatial methods for resource assessments of renewable energy technologies. The PhD position is well connected with other research projects at ESA, which is at the intersection of engineering and economics, and involves developing and applying energy system models to diverse energy systems and research questions. The ESA group is headed by Prof. Dr. Russell McKenna and generally focuses on the energy system analysis of low carbon energy systems and technologies. The Chair holder’s joint appointment as the Head of the Laboratory of Energy Systems Analysis at PSI mean a strong collaboration with this group is also desirable.


Project background

The transition to a net-zero-carbon-emissions (net-zero) energy system is resulting an increase in decentralised energy technologies at building and district scales. These decentralised technologies raise many questions relating to the technical and economic efficiency of solutions at building and district scales, as well as effective policy measures to provide effective and fair incentives.


Job description

The goal of the project is to develop tools and models to analyse interactions between energy vectors, sectors and applications at the district scale. This will be done, for example:

  • by developing new and improving existing energy system models at the individual building and district scale;
  • by exploring the changing shape of demand profiles and the implications at local substation and distribution network levels;
  • by developing approaches to model District Heating and Cooling (DHC) systems in the context of wider energy system models;
  • by analysing existing and suggesting new policy and tariff frameworks to incentivize system-serving energy communities;
  • by improving the consideration of energy network infrastructure in energy system models.

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, geosciences or mathematics) from an internationally recognized University and an excellent academic track record. Ideally, you have a background in quantitative modelling and programming (e.g. Matlab, Python, Julia, GAMS, GIS). Knowledge of mixed-integer linear programming solvers (e.g. CPLEX, Gurobi) and/or machine learning techniques are a benefit.

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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