PhD Position Capturing the Value of Long-Duration Underground Hydrogen Storage in Energy System Models

PhD Position Capturing the Value of Long-Duration Underground Hydrogen Storage in Energy System Models

Published Deadline Location
7 Feb 17 Mar Delft
Do you want work on improving model-based decision support for the energy transition? Do you have solid quantitative and analytical skills that you want to develop further?

Job description

Long-duration energy storage, for example under the form of underground hydrogen storage, requires costly infrastructure development. To decide how much storage capacity to develop, its location and timing, decision makers often rely on energy system models. These models allow exploring plausible future developments of the energy system, focusing on the transition to a net-zero energy system. While long-duration energy storage is a pivotal element in such a net-zero energy system, current state-of-the-art models are unable to properly value these assets.

In this PhD, we focus on three methodological advancements in the representation of long-duration energy storage in energy system models, and demonstrate these advancements in case studies focusing on the North Sea:

1)  Innovative temporal aggregation techniques: properly valuing long-duration storage in systems dominated by variable renewable energy sources requires capturing intra- and inter-annual weather variability. This leads to extremely large optimization problems, which can be avoided by intelligently reducing the temporal resolution of the models with limited impact on the quality of the solution.

2) Improved description of technical characteristics of underground hydrogen storage and its relation with the rest of the energy infrastructure: the representation of the technical limitations of large-scale underground hydrogen storage systems in energy system models is rather coarse-grained. Leveraging the expertise within TU Delft and the HyTROS project consortium (see below), we develop novel, state-of-the-art model descriptions.

3) Uncertainty management: the optimal operation of a long-duration storage asset requires considering the uncertainty on future demand, availability of renewables, etc. over multiple years, as well as inherent uncertainties related to the technical limitations of the asset itself. We build on the developments in 1) and 2) to develop tractable stochastic model formulations and solution strategies.

To address these challenges, you are expected to continue the development of existing open-source frameworks, such as Calliope, and stand-alone models, leveraging a mix of techniques from operations research, engineering and economics. 

This PhD project is embedded in the HyTROS (Hydrogen Transport, Offshore and Storage) project, funded under the GroenvermogenNL R&D program. Your daily supervisor and co-promotor will be Kenneth Bruninx, and your promotor will be prof. dr. ir. Machteld van den Broek. You will join a lively community of internationally renowned interdisciplinary energy researchers in the Department of Engineering Systems and Services. Our faculty hosts a diverse group of people from different countries and disciplines, and we welcome candidates that contribute to and enjoy this diversity. We expect that as part of your PhD you will take the lead on interacting and collaborating with other researchers at TU Delft, with research groups at other universities, and with industry and other stakeholders. The HyTROS project, with partners from academia, research organizations and industry, will facilitate such interactions.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You must be able to demonstrate:

  • Masters degree in science, engineering or economics (must have been awarded by the agreed-upon starting date of the PhD).
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills.
  • Very good written and spoken communication skills in English (Dutch is not required).

Bonus points if you have:

  • Programming experience in Julia, Python or a similar language.
  • Prior research experience, especially in energy system/market modelling or other energy-related 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: 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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.

Additional information

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 17 March 2024 via the application. Documents that must be included in the application:

  • Motivation statement, including a paragraph outlining your main research interests within the areas outlined in the job advertisement (max. one A4 page).
  • CV, including a brief description of your three most impactful achievements to date (these achievements can be anything relevant to your academic or professional life).
  • Contact details for two references (contact details only - please do not submit reference letters).

Please note:

  • Please do not attach any other documents to your application than those requested above. These documents will not be considered in the application procedure. 
  • We will contact shortlisted candidates for a two-stage interview process which will start late March, and we expect a decision shortly thereafter. The starting date will be flexible, but an early start is preferred.
  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

For more information about this vacancy or the application procedure, please contact Kenneth Bruninx ( No applications by email. 


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04993


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Application procedure

Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Make sure to apply no later than 17 Mar 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).