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.
The transition to a net-zero-carbon-emissions (net-zero) energy system requires a significant increase in renewable generation capacity with respect to current values. This requires detailed data relating to the costs and potentials of diverse energy technologies, which reflect present and possible future constraints from diverse stakeholders.
The goal of the project is to develop geospatial methods and tools to perform resource assessments for renewable energy technologies, at scales from solar PV on individual buildings to onshore wind for whole continents. This will be done, for example:
- by improving existing methods of resource assessments to better reflect non-technical constraints such as social acceptance or environmental impacts;
- by exploiting open data sources such as Open Street Map to develop transferable tools and methods for local resource assessments;
- by accounting for land use competition between technologies and where appropriate to assess the potential for mixed-use or hybrid power plants;
- by developing user interfaces with which diverse stakeholders may directly interact with detailed energy system data and perform their own resource assessments;
- by adopting state-of-the-art modeling techniques to simulate the future spatial and temporal evolutions of highly-renewable energy systems;
- by combining static resource assessment with dynamic energy system models in order to explore short- and long term developments in technology characteristics.
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.
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 method approaches, 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.
We look forward to receiving your online application including the following documents:
- Transcripts of records for both BSc and MSC degrees
- Contact information of at least two professional referees
Please note that we only accept applications which are submitted through our online application portal. We will not consider applications sent via email or postal services. Applications assessment will start immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
Questions regarding the position should be directed by email to Prof. Dr. Russell McKenna, email@example.com (no applications).