PhD Candidate in Performance Analysis of the Combined Solar and Heat Pump Systems

Trondheim, Norway
Friday, 3 July 2020
End of advertisement period
Friday, 21 August 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is seeking a PhD Candidate in Performance Analysis of the Combined Solar and Heat Pump Systems. The position is part of the research project “Key technologies and demonstration of combined cooling, heating and power generation for low-carbon neighbourhoods/buildings with clean energy ChiNoZEN” jointly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in China and the Research Council of Norway (RCN). This announcement relates to position funded by RCN and will be hired by NTNU.

The Norwegian part of the project is linked to the four Research Centres on Environment-friendly Energy (FME Centres): FME ZEN, FME HighEFF, FME SuSolTech and FME Cineldi, hosted by NTNU, SINTEF Community, SINTEF Energy Research, and Institute for Energy Technology (IFE). The Chinese consortium comprises prominent universities and industry partners: Beijing Jiaotong University, China Academy of Building Research, Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai, Solareast Holdings Co. Ltd., Lanzhou University of Technology, North China Electric Power University (NCEPU), Qingdao Somir Energy Science and Technology Co. Ltd., Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology.

The commitment of the ChiNoZEN project is to contribute to a significant increase in the share of low-carbon buildings and neighbourhoods through research cooperation between leading Chinese and Norwegian scientists.

The ChiNoZEN project supports the transition to a reliable, affordable, publicly accepted, sustainable built environment, aiming at reducing fossil fuel dependency in the face of increasingly scarce resources, growing energy needs, and threatening climate change. The project delivers new knowledge, solutions and innovative technologies for low-carbon buildings and neighbourhoods.

The research is carried out in five work packages (WPs): WP1 Performance of grid-connected photovoltaic technologies (PVT) with Thermal Energy Storage (TES), WP2 High temperature heat pump (HTHP) and dynamic performance, WP3 Simulation platform and control strategy of CCHP, WP4 Key CCHP technologies of low carbon neighbourhood and buildings with multiple energy sources, and WP5 Demonstration of low carbon neighbourhood and buildings with clean energy.

The Norwegian part of the ChiNoZEN project is managed by FME ZEN and hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU.

Two PhD and four postdoctoral fellow positions for the Norwegian part of the ChiNoZEN project are located in various departments at NTNU and IFE, ensuring the cross-disciplinary research needed in order to reach the aim of the project. All PhD and postdoctoral fellows will stay minimum six months with one of the partners in China.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås. The day-to-day position management and supervision is by Associate Professor Laurent Georges.

Duties of the position

We are looking for a PhD candidate related to WP1 Performance of grid-connected photovoltaic technologies (PVT) with Thermal Energy Storage (TES) for the topic: Performance Analysis of the Combined Solar and Heat Pump Systems (WP1 PhD Fellowship from Sep 2020 to Aug 2023)


Distributed Photovoltaic Thermal Hybrid solar systems (hybrid PV/T) generate heat and electricity based on a same component. Using most common PV/T, water is heated by the collector and simultaneously cools down the solar cells so that the PV generation efficiency is increased compared to a stand-alone PV system. This supposes that the water is heated at a moderate temperature level to keep the PV efficiency high, a temperature level that is not useful for many building applications. To reach higher temperatures (in the range of 90°C) with high efficiency, a heat pump (HP) system driven by the PV/T electricity is coupled to the grid-connected system.

In this research work, different PV/T technologies, heat pump and thermal energy storage (TES) will be compared. The performance will be studied using dynamic simulations where both the design (e.g. temperature levels and components sizes) and the overall system control will be optimized. Two main performance indicators are the energy efficiency and the peak-shaving potential. The performance of conventional controls will be compared to predictive controls where short-term forecast will be taken into account (i.e. time-varying electricity prices, temperature and solar irradiation).

Research questions:

  • Determine the best components (PV/T, HP and TES) to form the system
  • Define the optimal design of this system (e.g. sizing and system layout)
  • Develop predictive controls to maximize energy efficiency and peak shaving
  • Compare the overall system performance with other standard heating strategies

Selection criteria

Essential qualifications

  • The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is a completed Master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in thermal and energy systems engineering or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in accordance with 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 candidate should have excellent communication skills in English (oral and written)
  • Candidates should be able to work in an inter-disciplinary environment
  • The applicant must enclose a research project description (max. 3 pages incl. references) indicating his/her view of the main research challenges in the area of the position, how they suggest to do the research work and how this is relevant for their own background and the above research objectives and questions

Desirable qualifications

  • Research or professional experience in one or several of the following domains will be highly appreciated: solar and heat pump systems, analysis of thermal systems using dynamic simulations (typically TRNSYS or Modelica), optimal control or model predictive control (typically using linear or quadratic programming), data pre- and post-processing in tools like Python or MATLAB
  • Knowledge of the Norwegian language will be considered as an advantage
  • Candidates experienced with international cooperation, particularly with China, would be preferred

Personal characteristics

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

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

We offer

Salary and conditions

The period of employment is 3 years.

PhD candidates are placed in code 1017, and are normally remunerated from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering within three months of the contract start date, and that you participate in the PhD programme during the employment period.

The appointment 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 criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU.

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, post doctor and research assistant.

After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The place of work is Trondheim, Norway. It is a prerequisite that employees are present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

The position is subject to external funding.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English. Only applications submitted before the application deadline will be evaluated.

Publications and other academic work that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. You should ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • List of publications
  • Research project description (max. 3 pages incl. references) indicating applicant`s view of the main research challenges in the area of the position, how they suggest to do the research work and how this is relevant to their own background and the above research objectives and questions.
  • Name and address of three referees 

Collaboration in joint works will be considered in the evaluation. 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. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Applicants with European Master`s qualifications from outside Norway are required to include a Diploma Supplement. Applicants with Masters` qualifications from China are required to include confirmation of Master`s Diplomas from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):

Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test.

Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Questions about the ChiNoZEN project should be directed to ChiNoZEN project manager Professor Vojislav Novakovic Questions about the position should be directed to Associate Professor Laurent Georges Questions about the recruitment process should be directed to Ingrid Wiggen,

Under the Information Act (Offentleglova), the name, age, position and municipality of an applicant may be made public even if they have submitted a request to have their name removed from the list of applicants.

Please refer to the application number IV-156/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 21.08.2020

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background.

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

Employees of NTNU, must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Living in Trondheim

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

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 21st August 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Jobbnorge ID 189931