PhD Position Optimization of Integrated Logistics and Energy Systems for Zero-emission Transport Chains

PhD Position Optimization of Integrated Logistics and Energy Systems for Zero-emission Transport Chains

Published Deadline Location
8 Nov 14 Jan Delft

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Do you want to work at the intersection of transportation and energy with your expertise on optimization models?

Job description

The international shipping industry is responsible for the carriage of around 80% of world trade which shows the critical role of waterborne transport globally. Inland waterway transportation (IWT), to connect seaports with the hinterland, also contributes significantly to the overall performance of global supply chains. Even though IWT is relatively more efficient in terms of energy consumption per ton of cargo, compared to other modes, shipping still accounts for 3% of global GHG emissions. As the global economy grows, total shipping emissions could account for at least 5-10% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if no actions were to be taken. In response, various policies have emerged, worldwide as well as in Europe. A big challenge is how to achieve such reductions in a very complex system in a sustainable way; sustainable for the environment but also for the businesses involved.

The goal of the PATH2ZERO (PAving THe way towards Zero-Emission and RObust inland shipping) 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. 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. This digital twin will represent the system with all relevant components in a realistic way and these components constitute different work streams within the project.  The project will be conducted in close collaboration with research institutions (Rotterdam School of Management, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, HZ University of Applied Sciences) industrial stakeholders and governmental organizations.

This PhD project is focusing on the transport chain work package of the PATH2ZERO project where we aim for an integrated logistics and energy system so that the logistics services are provided and operated incorporating the supply of energy. In a sense, services could make use of a hybrid fleet using a variety of energy sources. The integrated system will be modelled with different decision levels. Strategic level will deal with network design decisions where terminals and fleet will be (gradually) adapted for different energy sources. In other words, the adoption of new technologies around the energy sources needs to be modelled. At the tactical level, the service frequency and scheduling will be the main decisions which are again impacted by the choice of energy. Furthermore, at the operational level, the routing of the vessels and the required energy distribution need to be decided. The energy side involves swapping and charging container batteries, optimization of fuel bunkering operations etc. Essentially, the optimization models will simultaneously consider the transport flow and the energy flow. As different levels of decisions are considered, the way they will interact and work together need to be investigated. PhD project will be working closely with other work package researchers to embed the module in the multi-agent simulation (digital twin), to evaluate the potential of the proposed framework, and to draw conclusions in the form of policy insights.

The PhD student will be joining the group of Bilge Atasoy, working on adaptive transportation and logistics. The group has members with expertise on operations research, behavioural modelling and machine learning with applications in transportation. There is a vivid interaction in the group to foster collaboration and transfer of knowledge. There is also the opportunity to get teaching experience in topic-wise related courses. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate who has operations research background and also preferably transportation research knowledge. As the project is a multi-faceted one, we expect candidates with an appreciation of governance, policymaking and social challenges in the context of implementing new sustainable frameworks and business models, preferably in combination with economics and/or policy analysis.

  • Master of Science (MSc) diploma in Operations Research, Transportation, Logistics, Industrial Engineering, Maritime Engineering, or any other related field.
  • Attitude to function both in a team and independently.
  • Willingness to conduct multidisciplinary research in collaboration with both scientific and industrial partners.
  • Drive for excellence in research.

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: 1,5 and then 2,5 year.

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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03047


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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