PhD Position - Modelling Near-Optimal Energy System Alternatives under Consideration of Economic, Environmental and Social Objectives

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

IEK-3 – Techno-ökonomische Systemanalyse

Area of research:

PHD Thesis

Job description:

The transformation of the energy sector is a major challenge of the 21st century. At the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Techno-economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3) we use large models to investigate the question, of which technologies energy systems need to be composed in order to become both, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. Become part of our international research group and gain insights into the future of the energy sector. Not only you can use your expertise to create prognoses on the future capacity expansion, but also get an overview of different technologies and their synergies.

Your Job:

The necessary energy policy and planning decisions to achieve climate neutrality are complex, given the many possible technological options and social and political hurdles. Energy system optimisation models can serve as decision support by identifying system configurations that can achieve this objective at minimum cost. However, cost optimality alone ignores the social and environmental dimensions that are equally important for the political feasibility in reality. Furthermore, focusing on a single optimal solution neglects a range of equally feasible but potentially radically different system configurations. By explicitly modelling and comparing these alternatives, energy system modellers can more effectively support decision-making. Help contribute to the real-world feasibility of energy system optimisation results by:

  • Developing and extending methods for determining near-optimal results (“modelling to generate alternatives”)
  • Applying these methods to energy system optimisations, including the optimal expansion of wind power in Germany
  • Planning the optimal clustering of wind turbines into wind farms as well as the integration into the electricity grid
  • Considering aspects of social acceptability in energy system models, including the impact of power grids and wind turbines on the landscape
  • Deriving conclusions about the many different practically optimal energy system planning outcomes and quantify the impact of different target criteria (costs, social acceptance, emissions)

Your Profile:

  • A master`s or comparable degree in natural sciences, engineering, economics, mathematics, computer science or a related field of studies.
  • Interest for energy economics
  • Basic knowledge in computer-aided optimization and simulation
  • Fluent speaking and writing skills in English
  • High degree of autonomy and commitment
  • Thorough and reliable working style

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We offer ideal conditions for you to complete your doctoral degree:

  • A highly motivated team as well as an international and interdisciplinary work environment in one of Europe`s largest research institutions
  • Excellent scientific and technical infrastructure
  • Possibility to join (international) conferences and project meetings
  • Continuous support through your scientific supervisor
  • Excellent conditions for successful remote working
  • A large research campus with green spaces, offering the best possible means for networking with colleagues and pursuing sports alongside work
  • Further development of your personal strengths, e.g. through an extensive range of training courses; a structured program of continuing education and networking opportunities specifically for doctoral researchers via JuDocS, the Jülich Center for Doctoral Researchers and Supervisors:

  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service

The position is initially for a fixed term of 3 years. Pay in line with 75% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) and additionally 60 % of a monthly salary as special payment („Christmas bonus“). Further information on doctoral degrees at Forschungszentrum Jülich including our other locations is available at: Jülich promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relations.We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

This research center is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. With more than 42,000 employees and an annual budget of over € 5 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 2021D-126