PhD Opportunity: Computational modelling and optimisation of thermal energy storage



PhD Supervisor: Dr Daniel Friedrich

Application Deadline:  Open until position filled

Funding Availability: Open to UK/EU/Overseas applicants. Studentships will cover University fees (at UK/EU or overseas rate), plus a stipend for 3.5 years at the enhanced EPSRC rate (£14,640 for 2013/14). 

Research Area: Energy Systems 

Project description:

Renewable energy plays an important role in the greenhouse gas reduction strategy of the UK government. However, many renewable sources are inherently intermittent, e.g. changing wind and wave speeds, and are not aligned with the demand, e.g. solar collectors provide more energy in summer than in winter. Thus energy storage systems are essential to improve the utilisation and productivity of renewable sources by balancing the mismatch between energy supply and demand. On top of this, they increase the supply security and facilitate the complete substitution of conventional systems. In particular, solar thermal collectors combined with efficient and inexpensive storage systems have the potential to provide the majority of the heat required in residential buildings. Exciting opportunities lie in the development and integration of short-term and long-term thermal storage systems to level diurnal and seasonal peaks. 

This project will investigate the commercial viability of a combined solar thermal collector and thermal energy storage. The optimisation of integrated collector and storage systems is not feasible with a purely experimental approach due to the large number of variable process and operating conditions. Thus in this project the work will be focused on the development of sophisticated computational tools for the numerical simulation and optimisation of integrated collector and storage systems. This includes the detailed process modelling of energy storage systems and their integration with solar thermal collectors and environmental data. The process model will be combined with global, numerical optimisation routines. This allows the optimisation of the performance and cost of the integrated system over a wider design space than previously considered: investigating not only a larger parameter space but also changes in operating conditions and different system designs. 

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Eligibility and qualifications:

Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit: a first class or upper second class honours undergraduate degree (or International equivalent) is the minimum qualification requirement.

To undertake this research, we are seeking a motivated candidate with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or a cognate discipline. Independent work, self-motivation, good team spirit and excellent communications skills are important assets of the successful candidate. Some knowledge and experience of energy balances, process simulators and optimisation methods are beneficial. 

Please apply here: www.see.ed.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Select the Research Area referred to in the advert and clearly state on your application form which project you are applying for and the relevant supervisor.

Informal Enquiries to: [email protected]

Further information: www.eng.ed.ac.uk/drupal/research/IES

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