PhD Evaluating Appropriate Designs for Supporting Bunkering Infrastructure

PhD Evaluating Appropriate Designs for Supporting Bunkering Infrastructure

Published Deadline Location
17 Oct 30 Nov Delft

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Job description

The goal of the PAving THe way towards Zero-Emission and RObust inland shipping (PATH2ZERO) project is to achieve breakthrough by developing actions perspectives and sustainable business models for all parties in the inland shipping chain, thus contributing to the transition to emission-free inland shipping. The evaluation of zero-emission strategies, effectiveness of policies, technologies and assessment of the consequences of their implementation on the inland shipping system is the main objective of the project. A data-driven virtual representation of the inland shipping system will be developed for assessing the efficiency of proposed solutions capturing potential trade-offs of the interventions in the system. Three aspects are regarded to be vital components of the digital twin: the individual vessels, the logistic chains and the infrastructure. As these research topics span various scales, ranging from a single vessel to an entire infrastructure network, a meso-scale agent-based approach has been selected as a suitable basis for the digital twin. Consequently, potential interventions will be considered ranging from the application of new technologies to individual vessels to policy measures that are implemented for an entire shipping corridor, or various bunker infrastructure strategies in the network. Additionally, the impact of the implemented interventions will be evaluated at any desired scale, ranging from the individual ship level and its emissions to the network level and the aggregated emissions in an entire area, or the impact on the logistic chain.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with research institutions, industrial stakeholders and governmental organizations. In total, 7 PhD students and 3 postdocs will be hired for developing a data-driven multi-level digital twin for inland waterway transport and testing the efficiency of new policies for zero-emission shipping.

The goal of this PhD research is to develop new knowledge to determine what infrastructure requirements are associated with different scenarios of the energy transition for inland shipping. New practice-oriented methods will be developed for designing bunkering infrastructure for zero-emission shipping at infrastructure level (e.g. including the functional design and first-order dimensioning of individual bunkering stations) and at energy network level (e.g. understanding the interactions with upstream energy flow and downstream transport behaviour).  Key research questions are where bunkering stations should be positioned and what capacity these should have (both in terms of the total amount of energy to be supplied, and in terms of desired service levels/allowable waiting times). A number of associated knowledge gaps needs to be addressed: how can required bunkering capacity be translated to space requirements? what safety zones need to be accounted for when designing infrastructure for different energy carriers? what are suitable fuel loading concepts and how will these affect network performance (Tank to Tank)? to what extent can new energy carriers be integrated into existing infrastructure or is a separate infrastructure required? The research will incorporate  energy demand models, where AIS data is used for analysing present energy demand and realistic perspectives on potential future demand for renewable energy sources for inland shipping.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate who is able to connect transport and energy supply chains in system design for zero emission shipping infrastructure. We expect the applicants to have appreciation of design, engineering and social challenges of implementing new sustainable frameworks and business models, preferably in combination with economic and/or policy analysis expertise or affinity. Knowledge of lifecycle assessment, risk assessment methodologies, network analysis, supply chain technologies and frameworks will be a plus.

In addition, the applicants should have:

  • Master of Science (MSc) diploma in Transportation, Logistics, Power/Energy Systems, System Design, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Maritime Engineering, Transport Engineering or any other related field.
  • Aptitude to function both in a team and independently.
  • Experience with big data analytics.
  • Ability to collaborate with both scientific and industrial partners.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Civil Engineering & Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted  in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02918


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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