Researcher in Low-Carbon Technologies Integration into EU Low-Voltage Grids
Catholic University of Leuven

The Building Physics and Sustainable Design Section and the EnergyVille research center are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated postdoc-researcher in the field of District Energy Simulation (DES) . You will become a post-doc researcher in the Building Physics and Sustainable Design Section of the Department of Civil Engineering at KU Leuven which also collaborates with the EnergyVille research center. The section has locations in Leuven and Ghent. You will be employed in Leuven. At his location currently 4 faculty members and some 25 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers are active. The section's research targets heat and mass transfer in porous building materials, durability of (highly insulated) building components, and the energy use and indoor air quality in buildings and the built environment. Your research will help advancing existing tools for assessing the effects of integrating energy efficiency measures in buildings on the electricity grid and is embedded in the H2020 sEEnergies project.


Environmental constraints are pushing cross-sector electrification, including the transport and building sectors .However, the large integration of electric vehicles, coupled to new building loads (e.g. heat pumps) and the deployment of distributed generation (e.g. photovoltaic systems), has a strong influence on the stability of low-voltage(LV) distribution grids and can lead to significant reinforcement costs for grid operators. Quantifying the interaction between these low-carbon technologies (LCTs) and the distribution grid is paramount to ensure grid stability and minimize costs for grid operators.

We focus on the quantification of the above-mentioned interaction at the European level with the objective of informing future policies of the EU regarding energy efficiency, electrification and renewable energy integration. This effort takes place in the frame of the European project “sEEnergies” (, which aims to quantify and operationalize the potentials for energy efficiency in buildings, transport, and industry.

We have developed a methodology to quantify the impacts of the integration of LCT son LV distribution grids, which includes:

  • A dwelling model, based on occupants and building properties, which derives realistic load and generation profiles depending on the integrated LCTs.
  • A grid model, based on unbalanced power flow simulations, which determines the grid reinforcements required and their cost.

Both models are implemented in Modelica. We have also gathered a large database on the grid characteristics in the different EU countries. The first objective of this work is to combine the developed methodology and the database to generate representative results regarding the impact and the cost of LCTs integration in LV grids of the different EU countries. In the second phase, several strategies(e.g. buildings insulation, demand side management, storage) could be investigated to minimize the grid reinforcement costs. The successful candidate will also contribute to the coordination with other work packages of the sEEnergies project (which gathers electrical, gas and thermal grids) making sure that the approaches are coherent.


This project focuses on assessing effects of integrating energy efficiency measures in buildings on the electricity grid. A basic knowledge of modeling techniques in particular related to buildings and HVAC systems in buildings is essential. Affinity to electrical modeling is a plus. Independence and initiative, reliability in team work and good com­munication skills are similarly valuable.  Finally, a suitable knowledge of spoken and written English is required.

The position is open for applicants holding a PhD in one of the following Engineering fields: Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Energy Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering with a strong interest and some experience in the field of energy in buildings and districts. Knowledge and experience in the following fields will be relevant:

  • Building energy simulation: especially MODELICA (to model building, equipment and control)
  • Electricity grids: knowledge on low-voltage and mid-voltage grids
  • Object-oriented programming software development tools
  • Python programming

Please indicate clearly, what your experience and knowledge in the mentioned fields is and why you are interested and motivated to acquire expertise in the other fields.

The project can start immediately. In your motivation letter, you should clearly state when you could start. You can apply while currently being a PhD student, but you have to have obtained your PhD  degree before the date of appointment.  


  • The successful applicant will receive funding for at least one year to do research in the domain of District Energy Simulation
  • You will participate in exciting scientific project sEEnergies. The project will be carried out in the Building Physics and Sustainable Design Section at Leuven Campus of the KU Leuven
  • You will gain experience in many transferal skills and receive personalized mentoring from prof. Dirk Saelens (supervisor at KU Leuven) and prof. Simon Meunier (co-supervisor at GeePs laboratory, Centrale Supélec, France)
  • You will also have the opportunity to participate in local and international conferences and thus expend your scientific network
  • The position is available immediately


Successful candidates are encouraged to apply online.

The application file should contain amotivation letter, detailed CV, copies of latest degree and transcripts and the names and contact details of 2 referees.

For more information please Dirk Saelens, tel.: +32 16 32 13 43, mail:

The University of Leuven is an equal opportunity employer, committed to excellence through diversity.

You can apply for this job no later than December 11, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 11, 2020
  • Tags: Burgerlijke Bouwkunde

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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