PhD Position on District Heating Systems Integrating Distributed Sources

Trondheim, Norway
25 Jan 2018
End of advertisement period
22 Feb 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Faculty of Engineering 
Department of Energy and Process Engineering

A PhD position is available within the research project Understanding behaviour of district heating systems integrating distributed sources (UnDID) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The project is at the Department of Energy and Process Engineering in the Energy and Indoor Environment group, The group has a well-established expertise in energy supply systems and building energy services. Research activities within the group range from building energy use, building energy supply, indoor environment, energy efficiency, building services, control and automation, energy planning to building performance modelling and simulation. The group is strongly involved in the Norwegian FME Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) (, Zero Emission Neighborhoods (ZEN) as well as in various national and international projects, e.g. IEA Tasks or EBC Annexes. The group is responsible for the HVAC laboratory at the department.

The field of work will be integrated control and management of the district heating systems integrating distributed sources.

About the UnDID project

The research project is funded by the Research Council of Norway under the program FRINATEK Young Research Talents. The project title is: Understanding behaviour of district heating systems integrating distributed sources. The aim of the project is to develop models to explain interfaces between the energy supply and demand in a district heating integrating distributed sources. Future district heating and cooling systems will be based on completely renewable energies from solar, waste heat, and geothermal energy. This will imply that many distributed systems have to be available to deliver heat to the central system. The term interfaces may be explained via hard and soft issues. The hard issues cover the following topics: district heat network, requirements for consumer substations and buildings, and connection principles for decentralized sources. The soft issues cover the following topics: technical and economical modelling of the distribution system, optimization between demand and supply, innovative and integrated control concepts and energy management, transition of the existing district heating grid to the low temperature grid, and new pricing and business models. Two PhD candidates will work on this project. Two international partners from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, and City University of Hong Kong, China are engaged into the project. A Norwegian consultant companies and one district heating company are project partners too.

Work description

The PhD candidate will deal with the control and optimization of the district heating systems integrating distributed sources. This will imply development of simplified models of building energy demand and conversion plants. These models should enable easier performance estimation, control and management, and optimization of the system. For demand management, model predictive control will be used for load shifting and peak clipping (reduce the load when the price or production cost is high). Input to the model will be aggregated heat load considering uncertainty. Finally, by establishing an integrated control platform, improvements in communication, control, and energy measurements will be developed. These results will give a robust background for development of new business and price models in the smart DH systems. Previous research work should be utilized with this research work. Possibilities from the laboratory have to be utilized for this research work. Collaboration with the other PhD candidates and guiding MSc students will be beneficial for this project. The candidate should collaborate with the national and international partners. The PhD candidate will spend six months at City University of Hong Kong, China, working on this topic. Experiences from Tafjord Kraftvarme AS on the supervisory control of the supply plant and consumer substation will be included.


Applicants have to strictly address the following selection criteria:

  • A highly motivated candidate with a Master's degree (or equivalent) within HVAC systems for buildings, energy engineering or related field.
  • Good mathematical knowledge and analytical skills. A good understanding of energy use in buildings and district heating systems.
  • Practical experiences within district heating, HVAC systems, and energy use in buildings is an advantage.
  • Experience with and good knowledge of measurements, optimization and control, control platforms, and energy management.
  • Experience with generic computational tools, such as, MATLAB, MATLAB/Simulink, EES or similar. Experience with statistical methods would be an advantage.
  • A high level of personal responsibility, initiative, and ability to work in a project team and independently. The ability to guide Master students in relevant topics. Excellent communication skills with both technical and administrative staff. Excellent knowledge of written and spoken English. Fluent Scandinavian written and spoken language is an advantage.
  • In order to be accepted to NTNU’s PhD programme, the candidate must meet the requirement of an average weighted Grade B or better (ECTS grading system) from the MSc degree. Applicants from China have to provide transcripts verified by China Academic Degree & Graduate Education Information Centre (CDGDC).


PhD Candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross NOK 436 900 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 about the position, please contact Ass. Prof. Natasa Nord, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, NTNU, Trondheim. 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. The relevant applicants should send the following documents: motivation letter, CV, grade transcripts, project description on maximum 10 pages, and other enclosures such as recommendation letters and scientific publications. The application must be send only via this webpage at The application sent to the contact persons will not be considered as relevant. Mark the application with IV-58/18.

Start-up date is as soon as possible, but may be discussed with the Department.

Application deadline is 22 February 2018.

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.

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