PhD Experimental and Numerical Study of Low-carbon Biofuels in Internal Combustion Engines

Trondheim, Norway
Monday, 28 October 2019
End of advertisement period
Friday, 22 November 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is seeking a PhD student to join the Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME), Bio4Fuels, under the sub-project Product Design and End Use. The candidate will work in close cooperation and collaboration with other PhDs and post-docs at EPT within the ComKin research group and other researchers working in the wider engine combustion community.

Biofuels are now used extensively to fuel internal combustion engines. With up to 10% of European Diesel fuel consisting of biodiesel, usually made from rapeseed oil, the potential impacts of the use of the fuel on performance and emissions needs to be well understood. As the uptake of biofuels for engines has increased there has developed a concern about what their real positive impact on CO2 emissions is and over their competition with food crops i.e. using arable land to “grow” fuel instead of food to feed people. These concerns have helped promote the development of the so-called 2nd generation biofuels. These fuels can be defined in several ways, but all 2nd generation fuels are made from feedstocks that are not in competition with food crops. Feedstocks often take the form of a waste stream or none-food biomass, such as wood or forest residue.

2nd generation biofuels are very different to their 1st generation counter parts, requiring extensive testing in their intended engine type, providing data to the fuel producers as well as end users. This project is focused on a detailed experimental and numerical investigation of 2nd generation type biofuels in compression ignition engines. Various combustion parameters will be investigated with a focus on emissions of NOx and soot. Fundamental experimental research on combustion of the biofuels will be carried out in collaboration with the current research team, employing a well-equipped engine laboratory and specially designed combustion rig with optical access for optical measurements. This enables detailed studies of the ignition and flame structure in the combustion chamber as well as particle formation. Matching the experimental data with results from detailed kinetic simulations using a stochastic reactor model will be an important part of the PhD project.

The head of the department is Professor Terese Løvås. The position’s day-to-day project management and supervision is by Professor Terese Løvås and Dr David Emberson.

Main duties and responsibilities

The objective of the PhD work is to use experimentally derived data to characterize combustion of new 2nd generation biofuels and use chemical kinetics using suitable surrogate fuels to examine the pathways of emission formation. The work involves combustion experiments conducted in a standard engine and using high speed optical techniques in an optically accessible compression ignition combustion chamber. The experimental results are used alongside a zero-dimensional numerical model. Special emphasis is on the continual development of the applied optical techniques, new experimental test regimes and equipment and methodologies of soot characterization.

Qualification requirements

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in chemical or mechanical engineering or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Other qualifications:

Motivation for fundamental scientific research of practical relevance is essential with an intertest in experimental and empirical methods essential. Experience working in a combustion or mechanical engineering type lab is ideal but not a prerequisite.

  • Good communication skills
  • Strong computer programming skills
  • Good written and oral English language skills
  • Norwegian language skills are an advantage

Personal characteristics

  • Confidence in working independently and in teams
  • Ability and willingness to work in inter- and transdisciplinary teams
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Engineering.

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Terese Løvås, phone number +47 91897007, e-mail

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number IV-254/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 22.11.2019.

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 22nd November 2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Place of service NTNU Department of Energy and Process Engineering

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