PhD STUDENT Sizing and energy management of a concentrated SOLar Power plant in a local network connected to energy distribution grids - Study of the contribution to network FLEXibility. CDD 36 month at IMT Nord Europe

Job description

Unity: CERI Energie et Environnement

Hierarchical manager: Head of CERI Energie Environnement

Nature of employment: PhD, Fixed-term contract (CDD), 36 months

Place of work: Douai, Lahure


School under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and a school of the Mines Telecom Institute, IMT North Europe has three main missions: to train responsible engineers capable of solving the major challenges of the 21st century; to conduct research leading to high value-added innovations; to support the development of territories, particularly by facilitating innovation and business creation. Its objective is to train the engineers of tomorrow, who master both digital technologies and industrial know-how. Ideally located at the crossroads of Europe, 1 hour from Paris, 30 minutes from Brussels, and 1.5 hours from London, IMT North Europe aims to become a major player in the major industrial, digital, and environmental transformations of the 21st century by combining engineering sciences and digital technologies in both its teaching and research.

Located on two main teaching and research sites in Lille and Douai, IMT North Europe relies on more than 20,000m² of laboratories to develop high-level education and excellent research in the following fields: :

- Numerical Systems

- Energy Environment

- Materials and Processes

For more details, please refer to the school's website:

The candidate will join the "Energy Efficiency of Components, Systems and Processes" (ECSP) team at CERI Energy Environment. Research is carried out in the fields of intensification of heat transfer in heat exchangers and multifunctional reactor-exchangers, as well as more broadly in systems and processes. Applications concern the fields of energy and process engineering, involving more or less complex fluids and materials. Numerical and experimental approaches are almost systematically implemented in parallel, relying on the internal development of appropriate methodologies and tools, including the ALHEX experimental research platform for characterizing multifunctional exchangers and thermo-fluidic components. The objectives pursued are to finely characterize fluid, thermal, and mixing phenomena, in order to analyze the physical mechanisms involved in configurations and systems that can be complex. System modeling aspects are taken into account when necessary.

The PhD will be carried out in partnership with the engineering school JUNIA and the L2EP laboratory based in Lille, known in particular for their expertise in the field of electrical networks and possessing a smart building demonstrator (with the HEI building) and smart grid (photovoltaic plant, battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations).

For more details, please consult the JUNIA school website.:

Scientific context of the study:

In connection with the European Climate Law, the share of decentralized renewable energy production is increasing, putting more pressure on the networks. On the other hand, the economic context is very tense regarding energy supplies. These two factors will lead energy distribution network managers to ask consumers to partially and temporarily reduce their consumption.

A multi-energy solar concentrating power plant (producing electricity, heat, and cooling) integrated into the network of a building that consumes these different energies (hospital, supermarket, tertiary, industrial, etc.) will contribute to achieving the objective of increasing the use of renewable energies. In addition, its sizing and energy supervision will allow it to supply local consumption loads while meeting the requests of network managers at any time of the year (flexibility).

A methodological approach will identify the influential parameters of these two stages, making the results obtained generalizable (type of building and local consumption, location of buildings, energy supply contracts, etc.). These developments will be based on a case study: the JUNIA/HEI Lille buildings, which are multi-energy consumers, for which a lot of consumption data is available (Smart Grid / Smart Building demonstrators).

Missions :

The recruited person will carry out research work for the SOLARFLEX project. This work will focus on the dynamic study of integrating a concentrated solar power plant into a microgrid, the multi-objective and multi-constraint optimization and supervision of electricity, heat, and cold production (as shown in the figure below), with the aim of contributing to network flexibility.


  • Conduct a preliminary literature review on concentrated solar power plants and multi-energy production (heat, cold, electricity) optimization in local networks.
  • Define operation scenarios for a solar power plant integrated into a local microgrid.
  • Propose configurations integrating the components of the solar power plant and establish an energy pre-design.
  • Participate in the reflection on the instrumentation of the local JUNIA demonstrator.
  • Develop a dynamic model using Dymola to simulate the thermodynamic operation of a concentrated solar power plant producing heat, cold, and electricity under dynamic conditions.
  • Optimize the production of the power plant based on demands for heat, electricity, and cold (local and national networks).
  • Conduct a life cycle analysis of the optimized system to evaluate the environmental impact of the selected solutions.
  • Showcase the work by participating in international conferences and publishing scientific papers in international journals.
  • Teaching implications may be possible, particularly through the implementation of directed and practical exercises.

Job requirements

Candidate’s Profile: (Prerequisites / Degree)

  • Engineering degree or a Master's degree with strong knoledge on energy, thermodynamics, and/or energy networks.
  • Competence in dynamic modeling (Dymola, Transys, etc.) would be a plus.
  • Excellent analytical and synthesis skills, with a critical mindset.
  • A good level of scientific communication (written/oral), particularly in English.


- Scientific rigor and writing quality.

- Communication and teamwork skills.

- Organized, rigorous, autonomous, and responsive.

- A good level of English is necessary for international collaboration.


- Modeling and optimization of energy systems and networks

- Mastery of one or more system modeling software: Dymola, Simulink, TRnSYS,…


- Recognized scientific and technical knowledge in the field of Energetics.

- Knowledge in modeling, simulation, and control of complex systems.


The position is available from 09/01/2023 for 36 month (Fixed-term contract (CDD)).

Information and application submission procedures:

For any information regarding the position, please contact:

Ugo PELAY, Lecturer (IMT Nord Europe), ;

Benoit Durillon, Lecturer (JUNIA/L2EP),

For any administrative information, please contact the Human Resources Department:

The positions offered for recruitment are open to all with, on request, accommodations for

candidates with disabilities.

Application deadline: 31/05/2023