PhD Position Long-term Condition Prediction of SF6-free Alternative Insulation Gases

PhD Position Long-term Condition Prediction of SF6-free Alternative Insulation Gases

Published Deadline Location
16 Apr 22 May Delft

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The Delft University of Technology is hiring a doctoral candidate on the subject "Long-term condition prediction of SF6-free alternative insulation gases"

Job description

TSO’s like TenneT in the Netherlands and Germany are dealing with the technical challenge of introducing alternatives to SF6 in new high voltage equipment, such as gas insulated switchgear (GIS) and Gas insulated lines (GIL).

Manufacturers are developing new alternatives to SF6. However, as SF6 has many advantages which are hard to match, the real panacea has not been developed, especially not for the higher voltage ratings (150 kV and above). The so far best developed alternatives are based on a mixture of CO2, O2 and C4-FN.

TenneT decided to construct a 380 kV substation, based on GIS and using long outdoor GIL connections. This GIL will be filled with mixtures of CO2, O2 and C4-FN. Although there is 6 years of operational experience with HV GIL insulated by C4-FN mixtures, there is less experience and maturity compared to SF6 regarding the full lifetime, performance in limit cases and monitoring of the insulating properties. So far, these topics have not been researched in depth as manufacturers are still focused on the development of alternative switchgears for the different voltage and current ratings.

TU Delft is hiring a PhD student whose main goal is to obtain knowledge on the behaviour of the C4-FN mixtures (pure as gas, but also combined with GIS/GIL enclosures and spacers) over a longer period of time and/or aged by adding normally appearing by-products. The final goal of the PhD-program is to ensure full lifetime operation of a GIL with a C4-FN-based mixture without unpredicted outage, by understanding the deterioration processes.

We offer a four-year PhD appointment, with an anticipated start date between 01-07-2024 and 01-09-2024. You will be supervised by ir. André Lathouwers, Dennis van der Born and Peter Vaessen.

Your research is part of a drive towards a reliable and sustainable energy system in the Netherlands. Which is why you’ll work closely with the Dutch high voltage transmission system operator TenneT TSO. You will be coaching and mentoring master students. Fostering a synergetic, open-minded, and win-together culture, we regularly interact and share views, unlocking opportunities, forms of incubation, and deployment of knowledge and ground-breaking developments. We also stimulate a healthy and inclusive work environment in which you can bring out the best in yourself. And we value autonomy, professionalism, and a balanced work-life approach.

You will benefit from extensive training in technical and transferrable skills.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Essential job requirements

  • Completed a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Sustainable Energy Technology, Applied Physics or equivalent.
  • Excellent academic record (grades of B (8) or higher).
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Very good command of English. The minimum requirement of a TOEFL overall band score of 100 (with scores of at least 21 for all sections) or IELTS overall band score of 7.0 (with scores of at least 6.5 for all sections: writing, reading, listening, speaking) applies to all candidates wanting to pursue a PhD at TU Delft.
  • Ability to read and critically analyse high voltage technology, materials and asset management papers.
  • Strong knowledge of high voltage constructions and measurement/diagnostic techniques.
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated, and eager to learn.
  • You are keen to work with industry partners to link real-world challenges to fundamental research questions.


  • Experience with Matlab and COMSOL.
  • Experience with collaborative software development (e.g. commercial and open source).

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 Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three scientific disciplines. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we all use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make completely sustainable and future-proof. At the same time, we are developing the chips and sensors of the future, whilst also setting the foundations for the software technologies to run on this new generation of equipment – which of course includes AI. Meanwhile we are pushing the limits of applied mathematics, for example mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. In other words: there is plenty of room at the faculty for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1000 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

About the department

The research in the Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy is inspired by the technical, scientific, and societal challenges originating from the transition towards a more sustainable society and focuses on four areas:

  • DC Systems, Energy Conversion and Storage (DCE&S)
  • Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD)
  • Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG)
  • High Voltage Technologies (HVT)

The Electrical Sustainable Energy Department provides expertise in these areas throughout the entire energy system chain. The department owns a large ESP Laboratory assembling High Voltage testing, DC Grids testing, PV testing and a large RTDS that is actively used for real-time simulation of future electrical power systems.

The High Voltage Technologies (HVT) group, headed by Professor Peter Vaessen, works on the future of our power system. The goal is to generate, transmit and use electrical energy in a highly reliable, efficient, stable, clean, affordable, and safe way. HVT develops novel and sustainable insulation materials, investigates high voltage components and materials ageing and develops new diagnostic techniques for determining high voltage asset health. The group possesses a well-equipped HV-laboratory within the ESP lab. Our research covers:

  • Materials & Components
  • Dimensioning & Validation
  • Monitoring & Diagnostics
  • Residual life & Asset Management


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05240


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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