PhD Position in Model Predictive Control to Activate the Building Energy Flexibility

Trondheim, Norway
07 Oct 2017
End of advertisement period
27 Oct 2017
Contract Type
Full Time


A PhD scholarship is available within the Energy and Indoor Environment research group at the Department of Energy and Process Engineering (EPT) on the topic of “model predictive control to activate the building energy flexibility”. The Energy and Indoor Environment group has a well-established expertise as regards HVAC (i.e. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and energy supply systems in buildings. This PhD is linked to the Norwegian FME research center on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities (ZEN), led by NTNU and SINTEF. The main objective of the ZEN Centre is to develop knowledge, competitive products and solutions that will lead to realization of sustainable neighborhoods that have zero emissions of greenhouse gases related to their production, operation and transformation.

Background and Objective

Energy flexibility of buildings means the ability to manage energy demand, storage and generation according to local climate conditions, user needs and grid requirements. Model predictive control (MPC) has proven to be an effective technique to active the energy flexibility in order to maximize energy efficiency, minimize energy costs, provide grid services, or reduce the environmental impact of buildings during their operation. Reliable low-order models are prerequisite in order to apply MPC to buildings, especially for real-time control.

Thermal energy demand in buildings is influenced by the building envelope, the storage and heating systems. Extensive research has already been performed in reduced-order modelling, especially for the characterization of the building envelope. In this respect, stochastic grey-box modelling is a promising approach. Nevertheless, research is still needed to integrate the thermal systems coherently into these low-order models (i.e. the space-heating emission, distribution, storage and generation systems, typically for heat pumps, as well as the ventilation system).  In addition, it should be understood how the characteristics of the heating system and the building influence the available energy flexibility.

The PhD focuses on low-order modelling of building and HVAC systems in order to use them in MPC to activate the thermal energy flexibility of buildings. Key research areas will be: thermal dynamics of buildings, model predictive control (MPC), model reduction techniques and system identification, building performance simulation.

International engagement:

  • A research stay in one of the ZEN centre's international partners that have developed world-leading expertise in  these areas: DTU, KULeuven, Fraunhofer ISE.
  • Involvement in the IEA HPT Annex 49.


We seek a highly motivated candidate with a Master's degree (or equivalent) within HVAC systems of buildings, or energy engineering, or in applied mathematics (specifically in control and model identification). The candidate should present a strong interest for the modelling and simulation of complex dynamic systems as well as their control. Prior experience with the aforementioned disciplines is an advantage. The candidate should be proficient in MATLAB, while prior knowledge of the MATLAB system identification toolbox, the CTSM-R package or LabVIEW will be highly appreciated. This research being inter-disciplinary, the candidate needs to have excellent communications skills


PhD Candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross NOK 432,300 before tax. There will be a 2 % deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund from gross wage.

Engagement as a PhD Candidate is done in accordance with “Regulation concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”, given by the Ministry of Education and Research of 19.07.2010. The goal of the positions is to obtain a PhD degree. Applicants will engage in an organized PhD training program, and appointment requires approval of the applicants plan for a PhD study within three months from the date of commencement.

The position is of 3 years duration.

For further information, please contact: Associate Professor Laurent Georges, tel. +47 73592484, email:, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, NTNU, Trondheim. For the work in ZEN, Senior Scientist Igor Sartori at SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, tel. +47 984 86 121, email:

See for more information.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. The positions adhere to the Norwegian Government's policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Women are encouraged to apply.

The application

The application must contain information of educational background and work experience. Certified copies of transcripts and reference letters should be enclosed. In addition, two to three reference persons as well as a statement of research interest should be enclosed.  Applications with CV, grade transcripts and other enclosures should be submitted via this webpage at Mark the application with IV-190/17.

Start-up date will be in the beginning of 2018, or in agreement with the department.

Application deadline is 27. October 2017

According to the new Freedom of Information Act, information concerning the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the list of applicants.

About this job

  • Deadline Friday, October 27, 2017
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Energy and Process Engineering
  • Jobbnorge ID 143192
  • Internal ID IV-190/17
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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