Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power

Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power

Supervisor: Dr Zhibin Yu

Description: Heat accounts nearly half of UK’s energy consumption and it is far more challenging to decarbonise it due to its nature of decentralised generation and consumption. Furthermore, heat demand highly depends on seasons and weather condition. In the past, heating and power sectors were normally tackled separately. Considering the rapid increase of renewable power generation in the UK, electrifying heating represents an attractive solution for decarbonising heating sector in the longer term. However, this will significantly increase the peak power demand in winter, bringing further challenges to the national grid, in terms of creating extra power generation capacity and balancing the generation and demand. The current energy infrastructure cannot address these challenges.

This project aims to model and optimise district-level, multi-stakeholder, multi-vector integrated energy systems for both heating and power through a technical and business analysis, which utilises multiple sources of local electricity and heat generation from renewables and involves multiple energy users and stakeholders of infrastructure. This project will investigate how to optimise such integrated urban energy systems and provide an insight in the opportunity of utilising both electricity and heat storage systems to aid the balancing and effectiveness of matching supply and demand with the multiple characteristics we would have on the system. Furthermore, an innovative business model will be developed to facilitate the uptake of the developed solution. Novel concepts such as “power to heat”, “thermal energy storage”, and “electric vehicles as electricity storage” will be examined through a whole system approach.   

To undertake this research, we are seeking a motivated candidate with a first class degree in Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Informatics, Scientific Computing, or a cognate discipline. Enthusiasm for the application of mathematical and computational methods to energy system modelling and optimisation is essential. Experience in a modern programming language or energy system modelling tools is beneficial. Independent work, self-motivation, good team spirit and excellent communications skills are important assets of the successful candidate.

This PhD project is jointly funded from 3 sources involving 3 separate organisations and therefore have 3 members on the supervision team. 

Funding notes: Funding will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,553 per annum for 3.5 years. 

How to Apply: For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: Dr Zhibin Yu (

This opportunity has a funding determined start date. In the event a good enthusiastic candidate is identified, we may feel it appropriate to offer this funded position prior to the suggested closing date of 30 November 2017, therefore early applications are advised.

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student:

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Deadline: 30 November 2017