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Planning to meet the resilience requirements of a mid-Century, net-zero UK energy system: direct and indirect role of the UK and Irish buildings sectors

   UCL Energy Institute

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  Prof Robert Lowe  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

UCL's Energy Institute are seeking applications for a fully funded Studentship on topic in “Planning to meet the resilience requirements of a mid-Century, net-zero UK energy system: direct and indirect role of the UK and Irish buildings sectors.”

Flexibility and resilience are critical to energy system operation. By 2050, the bulk of energy system flexibility and resilience in the UK and Ireland will come from a mix of large-scale energy storage, excess generation capacity and interconnectors. This project explores possible implications of this for the buildings sector.

Supervisor: Professor Robert Lowe of UCL Energy Institute.

Funding: The studentship will cover UK course fees and an enhanced tax-free stipend of approx. £19,000 per year for 4 years along with a substantial budget for research, travel, and centre activities.

Fees: ERBE CDT has very limited funding for applicants requiring coverage of overseas fees. We advise all interested applicants to be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships

Dates: 4 years from September 2022

Context and Project description:

Recently published research shows that the UK will need to commission 10s of TWhs of energy storage capacity by the middle of the century to provide resilience and continuity of energy supply. While a small part of this can be provided by demand side changes such as shifting of EV and heat pump use, the bulk of contributions to energy system flexibility and resilience will need to come from large scale energy storage. This in turn is expected to come from natural gas and hydrogen production, district energy systems, excess wind and PV capacity and interconnectors to Ireland and continental Europe.

A key and increasingly important function of storage is to buffer the energy supply system from variations in demand, and vice versa. Where in the system the storage should be placed, and what forms it should take are currently unresolved questions. There is the potential to deploy new storage assets in ways that allow partial compartmentation of an otherwise increasingly complex and tightly coupled energy system. This will have significant implications for operability, and for the emerging architecture of UK and European energy systems over coming decades.

Studentship aims:

This project aims to apply a System Architecture approach to:

  • quantify the resilience and flexibility requirements of mid-century, low or zero-carbon UK energy systems
  • explore different options for meeting these requirements and their implications for the role of demand-side management and flexibility within the wider energy system.

The student will make use of state-of-the-art operational models of the UK and adjacent energy systems. A key part of the project will consist of systematic engagement with energy system stakeholders to determine and rank energy system objectives and to provide feedback on modelling objectives, technology selection and interpretation of results.

Person specification:

This is an exciting and challenging project, at the cutting edge of energy research. It would be suited to an exceptional candidate with a physical science, engineering systems or complexity science background, and a willingness to acquire new concepts and skills. Experience or qualifications in a subject associated with the built environment are welcome, but not required – training and support will be provided to the successful candidate.

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted.

Applicants must also meet the minimum language requirements of UCL

Applicants should be familiar with the changes to EU and International Eligibility for UKRI funded studentships.

How to apply

Please submit a pre-application by email to the UCL ERBE Centre Manager ([Email Address Removed]) with Subject Reference: 4-year UCL PhD studentship: Planning to meet the resilience requirements of a mid-Century, net-zero UK energy system: direct and indirect role of the UK and Irish buildings sectors

The application should include all of the following:

  1. A covering letter clearly stating why you are applying and how your interests and experience relate to this project, and your understanding of eligibility according to these guidelines: EU and International Eligibility for EPSRC/UKRI funded studentships
  2. CV
  3. Complete the CDT EPSRC fees background and EDI questionnaire via the linked Microsoft Forms.

Only shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.

  • For the interview shortlisted candidates will be asked to show proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s), and proof of their fees eligibility.
  • The interview panel will consist of consist of the project’s academic supervisors at UCL, and a representative of the ERBE CDT Academic management The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.

Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme for ERBE CDT.

Deadline for applications: Sunday, 24th July 2022 @ 23:59 (UK time)

Interviews week commencing: TBC

For further details about the admission process, please contact: [Email Address Removed]

For any further details regarding the project, contact Professor Robert Lowe, [Email Address Removed]

You will be undertaking this project:

  • In UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus as part of the new EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE CDT). This is a collaboration between UCL, Loughborough University and Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI). For more information please see http://erbecdt.ac.uk
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