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A study in policy synchronisation for designing sustainable energy transitions

  • Full or part time
    Dr D Csala
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, April 30, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Several countries, including the UK, have clear internal combustion vehicle phase-out. However, more often than not, the transport decarbonization strategy is not tied to any significant corresponding electricity scale-up plan – and even less so a renewable energy deployment plan. We are offering a fully-funded, 3.5 year scholarship to conduct doctoral research in modelling of synchronizing electricity, heating, transportation and climate policies under various future network toplogies, so we avoid lock-in effects and timeline mismatches.

As future transportation as energy systems will have include an energy storage component, this severely increases the difficulty of creating national and local energy transitions strategies. The objective of the research is to create a simulation model that is able to guide and inform policy in this sector. In the long-term, this will greatly contribute to our understanding of the complex relationships between these policies and engineering systems, including taking into account the effects of AI and automation.

The research will specifically study the diffusion of transport and energy policies across the world across history – and build a techno-economic transitions model with the aim of understanding various energy transition contexts and map the best solutions pertaining to them, e.g. anticipating and building capacity for electric vehicle charging in certain area before the grid gets overwhelmed. It will focus on the diffusion of hydrogen-powered and battery electric vehicle technology, alongside major renewable energy technologies across the leading economies of the world and design supporting storage scenarios for them under various contextual circumstances. It will consider electrochemical energy storage, pumped hydro energy storage, hydrogen or other gas storage as supporting technologies. Ideally, a network toplogy analysis will be conducted from an energy economics viewpoint (net energy analysis), taking into the account not the just the cost of these technologies but also the energy return on energy investment and as social benefits.

Candidates should have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in systems engineering, economics, , network science or computer science or an equivalent field. The ideal candidate will have experience with system dynamics simulation modelling, energy systems modelling and energy return on energy investment calculations methodology and what is their future strategy on policy, investment and regulation. Good knowledge of historical energy transitions or technology diffusion would constitute an strong advantage.

This project will require a self-motivated and high performing candidate. The expectation is for a candidate with excellent interpersonal skills who will perform research work of high quality and publish their work in leading internationally refereed journals. This doctoral research project will be supervised by Lancaster University and is funded by the Engineering Department.

Informal enquiries:
Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Denes Csala at with a cover letter and a copy of their CV (2 pages maximum).

Funding Notes

A fully funded PhD studentship covering UK/EU tuition fees (stipend and fees for 3.5 years)

How good is research at Lancaster University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.98

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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