Research project description
This research project is part of the multidisciplinary BEHeaT program, coordinated by the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES)
. The institute was founded with the goal to tackle the societal challenge of energy transition. Within this larger goal BEHeat focuses on energy storage and conversion. A promising way to facilitate storage are phase change materials (PCMs) integrated into buildings. There they could act as thermal buffers and decrease the energy required for heating or cooling. But despite intense scientific work, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the best way to design PCMs with the desired properties. Many different materials have been investigated but supercooling effects (particularly for salt hydrates), cycling stability issues and low thermal conductivity of the PCMs themselves are still some of the biggest problems inhibiting their optimal use. It is also unclear how effective the various PCMs can be in lowering the heating or cooling demands and therefore energy requirements of a building.Job description
Designing PCMs with the optimal properties, placement and dimensioning is essential for effective integration in the building shell and external heat exchange. To properly investigate these, you should have experience in at least one of the points listed below and interest in gaining some experience in the others:
- Do computational pre-screening of materials/additives/fillers for increased thermal conductivity, get deeper understanding of the crystal structure on a molecular scale, assist the experiments for development of reliable additives and solutions. Simulations will be used to study supercooling process and study solidification triggering methods by doping these systems with different elements.
- Experimental work for measuring heat capacity of PCMs, cyclability and influence of additives on these properties. That could also include test runs in a climate chamber and analysis of water content/decomposition and crystallization behavior. Additional experiments will look at porous supports and encapsulation of the PCMs to keep them from interacting with their surrounding materials in unintended ways.
- Do building physics based simulations to estimate the effectiveness of various theoretical PCMs on indoor temperatures. The goal is to establish minimum requirements and screen out unsuitable PCMs.
During the project you will be working in the Energy Technology group
and the Building Materials group
, where you have access to state-of-the-art simulation and experimental tools and equipment. You will also have the opportunity to participate in EIRES, where you can discuss and cooperate with an international and multidisciplinary team of researchers.
This position and research project are made possible by the BEHeaT program initiated by the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES
). EIRES facilitates the collaborative development and swift deployment of new technologies and devices by bringing together TU/e researchers working on materials, systems, and processes for energy storage and conversion.
EIRES consists of collaborating research groups within TUe. These include over 140 researchers and more than 450 PhDs. EIRES brings these researchers together and creates new network connections between researchers and industry.
Within the focus area of energy transition in the built environment, a large-scale research program was recently launched. This program, BEHeaT, stands for B
ransition. The program is funded with TUe's own resources as well as contributions from industry. The research program has a pragmatic approach.
Within the BEHeaT program, research is conducted into the (further) development of various (new) materials, components and/or systems in relation to intelligent buildings, heat storage, heat networks and/or electricity grids. The focus is not only on physical materials, components and systems, but also on dynamic (predictive) models. We believe that in order to have impact, any research must take systems integration as its starting point. In addition, we believe that technology does not stand alone and should always be seen in relation to the (end) user. In this way, the impact of research results is increased.