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Is building-integrated energy storage a good idea?

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Fossil-fuelled energy use represents around 80% of global greenhouse (GHG) emissions, a huge proportion of which is used to heat and power our buildings. There is an urgent need to reduce GHG emissions while providing energy security and improving access to energy around the world.

Energy storage will have a crucial role to play in this. Storage can better integrate our electricity and heat systems, and aid decarbonisation, by:
• helping to integrate higher levels of both renewable energy supplies (e.g. wind and solar power) and the electrification of energy demands (e.g. electric cars and heat pumps)
• supporting greater production of energy where it is consumed
• improving energy system resource efficiency
• improving electricity grid stability, flexibility, reliability and resilience.

At the building scale, technology options include both electrical storage (e.g. Tesla’s Powerwall) and novel thermal storage (e.g. phase change materials).

However, while some energy storage technologies are technologically mature, most are still in the early stages of development. Many questions therefore remain over how best to adopt more energy storage. For example, for storage at a building level, what physical size would novel storage technologies need to be to enable energy demand to be shifted by a few hours to minimise peaks? What sort of carbon saving would that achieve? What would be the environmental impacts of each technology?

This PhD will use a combination of dynamic energy modelling and life cycle assessment to assess a range of novel energy storage options for buildings. There will be an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across the world under the IEA Annex 32 on Energy Conservation on Energy Storage, and to feed in to the new £36 million Active Buildings Centre, which involves the University of Bath and a range of other leading academic and industrial organisations around the UK. The outputs of the work will be relevant to energy-systems design and energy policy around the world.

Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the project, the ideal PhD candidate will have a strong engineering/mathematical background and will be familiar with one or more of the following topics: dynamic energy modelling, building physics, thermodynamics, life cycle assessment, computer programming.

Successful applicants will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or overseas equivalent). Any English language requirements must be met at the deadline for applications.

For more information about entry requirements, language requirements, and studying a for a PhD in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, see

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Steve Allen ()

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in

Expected start date: 30th September 2019

Funding Notes

This project is eligible for inclusion in funding rounds scheduled for end of November 2018, January 2019, February 2019, March 2019 and April 2019. A full application must have been submitted before inclusion in a funding round.

Funding will cover Home/EU tuition fees, a maintenance stipend (£14,777 pa (2018/19 rate)) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for 3.5 years. Early application is strongly recommended.

How good is research at University of Bath in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.38

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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