Contrat post-doctoral CEA-Grenoble: Design Optimization of a District Heating System

Forum 'Emplois' - Sujet créé le 18/02/2020 par ygaoua (369 vues)

Le 18/02/2020 par ygaoua :

This post-doctoral research position will take place in Grenoble in the “Energy System and Demonstrator Laboratory” (LSED) which is part of the LITEN Institute within the “French Alternative Energies and Atomic Commission” (CEA).


As part of mitigation measures to limit global warming, district heating and cooling systems are currently progressing in France. French public authorities promote this evolution relying on i) the statement that space heating and domestic hot water preparation remain significant contributors to national greenhouse gas emissions (Negawatt 2014), ii) on the natural ability of these systems to integrate intermittent, renewable and/or waste sources (Lund et al. 2014) iii) and finally, on their central role in the development of a smart energy system, i.e. a system taking advantage of positive synergies between energy carriers (Lund et al. 2017). We are active in this field through our participation in European projects (e.g. H2020 Pentagon project) and in research projects conducted with industrial partners relying on both experimental and numerical means.


In this context, there is a tremendous interest in designing algorithms and software to improve the assessment, the definition and the operation of these systems. Within this post-doctoral research position, we are specifically interested in design optimization of a district heating system, which consists in optimizing the distribution network, the location of the supply units and the size of various equipment (e.g. tube diameter …). This relevant problem is both difficult to tackle for a person skilled in the art and only partially covered by the existing features in dedicated commercial software.


The underlying research question has recently motivated several authors leading to publications in the open scientific literature. Some authors relied on a deterministic approach (Mertz et al. 2016, Fazlollahi et al. 2012, Hohman et al. 2015) resulting in the formulation of complex optimization problems, hardly tractable when non linearities affecting the behavior of a district heating system are accounted for. In the meanwhile, simulation of heating grids has recently improved to a point where the resolution time of large-scale systems is low (Guelpa et al. 2016, Bavière et al. 2018). This paves the way to design strategies based upon numerous solving of the system. In this context, an interesting option could be to combine a metaheuristic optimization approach to a digital twin of the system. Such an approach has proved successful for transport networks (H. Poorzahedy et al. 2005, A. Tero et al. 2010, A. Babazadeh et al. 2011).

We are willing to initiate a research activity in this domain through a 12 months post-doctoral position, possibly renewable.  The objectives of this project are:

  • To carry out a methodological reflection to identify a relevant design optimization strategy,
  • To assess the aforementioned strategy on a representative test case.

The postdoctoral researcher will, inter-alia, have an open access to GridLab-DH, the modeling and simulation environment for large-scale district heating systems that we are developing in our lab and to the computer cluster of the CEA Grenoble research center.

Qualifications and experience:

  • PhD in Optimization and / or Simulation
  • Strong interest / background for the energy sector
  • Knowledge of C++/Python programming under Windows / Unix OS

Language skills:

As an international research center, we are particularly keen to ensure that we attract applicants from France and abroad yet, proficiency in French or English is required.

How to apply:

Please submit your application with a CV, a motivation letter, a list of publications and the names of 3 references, including one from your present work place.


Where?: CEA Grenoble

When?: from January 2020, 12 months

Benefits?: refer to general employment conditions in CEA

Contact for application and further information:



T. Mertz et al. « A MINLP optimization of the configuration and the design of a district heating network : Academic study cases », Energy, 117 (2016) 450-464

Fazlollahi et al. « Methods for Multi-Objective investment and operating optimization of complex energy systems » Energy, 45-1 (2012) 12-22

Guelpa et al., “Optimal operation of large-scale district heating networks through fast fluid-dynamic simulation”, Energy 102 (2016): 586-595

Bavière et al. “Optimal Control of Large-Scale District Heating Networks”, Energy Procedia, 149 (2018) 69-78

Hohman et al. “Multi-objective optimization of the design and operation of an energy hub for the EMPA campus, In Cisbat 2015

H. Poorzahedy et al. “Application of ant system to network design problem” Transportation, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 251-273, May 2005  

A. Tero et al. “Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design”, Science 327, 439 (2010)

A. Babazadeh et al. “Application of particle swarm optimization to transportation network design problem” J. King Saud Univ. Sci., vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 293-300, Jul. 2011.

H. Lund, S. Werner, R. Wiltshire, S. Svendsen, J. E. Thorsen, F. Hvelplund, and B. V. Mathiesen, “4th Generation District Heating (4GDH),” Energy, vol. 68, pp. 1–11, Apr. 2014

H. Lund, P. Ostegaard, D. Connolly, B. V. Mathiesen, “Smart energy and smart energy systems”, Energy, vol 137, pp 556-565, Oct. 2017

« Scénario négatWatt 2011-2050: Hypothèses et Méthodes », Rapport technique négaWatt, mai 2014



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