Pre-doctoral position: Advanced control of thermal networks: unlocking the thermal net-work as a ...

August 24 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

VITO is a leading European independent research and technology organisation in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development, elaborating solutions for the large societal challenges of today.

A team of approximately 700 enthusiastic employees works on innovative research programmes within our 5 themes Energy, Chemistry, Materials, Landuse and Health. By doing this, they are contributing to the achievement of sustainable technological solutions in projects for clients (industry and governments).

If you would like to join and strengthen our VITO team as a researcher please consult our PhD/ Postdoc position currently available.

District energy networks (THERNET) are considered an important technology in the transition to a sustainable energy system [1]-[3]. With buildings accounting for about 45% of total energy use and with space heating and domestic hot water use taking up a large share of energy use in buildings, THERNET can make a real difference. It can enable a merit order in heat generation plants, ensuring that only the most interesting plants to run are activated, thereby decreasing operational costs.  Also, it allows the use of extra heat sources, such as waste heat from industrial processes and from waste incineration plants that would both be dumped in the environment otherwise. Other advantages include the possibility to invest in large seasonal thermal energy storage, such as aquifers and borefields.

As opposed to electricity networks, the thermal network is forgiving of an unbalance between the generation and use of energy. This is due to the thermal inertia present in the THERNET, that allows to store thermal energy over a certain period of time. Using this thermal inertia, or thermal energy storage (TES), a time difference can be created between the generation and use of thermal energy, hence creating flexibility. If this flexibility can be used in an intelligent way, e.g. by an advanced controller, the efficiency and/or profitability of a THERNET can be significantly improved.

This PhD research seeks to develop a control strategy that can use the thermal energy storage (TES) in a thermal network to create flexibility and hence to improve the efficiency and profitability of the thermal network.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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