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PhD Study of the integration of a PYRO-electric material in a thermo-fluidic component of a photovoltaic/thermal SOLar system (PYROSOL)

  • Douai, Hauts-de-France, France
Energies renouvelables et ressources

Job description

Unities: CERI Energie Environnement, IMT Nord Europe / Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

Hierarchical supervisors: Head of CERI Energie Environnement / Head of LIST

Nature of employment: International PhD, fixed-term employment contract, 48 months

Location of work : IMTNE (Douai, France) / LIST (Luxembourg)

Presentation of the institutions :

This International thesis (under joint supervision) is an international collaboration between IMT Nord Europe (France) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (Luxembourg).

IMT Nord Europe:

IMT Nord Europe (formerly ‘’Ecole des mines de Douai’’) is a prestigious French engineering school founded in 1878 and a member of the Institut Mines Télécom. Its main missions are to educate the engineers of tomorrow and conduct high-value innovative research. Located at the crossroads of Europe, with convenient access being just one hour from Paris, 30 minutes from Brussels, and 1.5 hours from London, IMT Nord Europe benefits from over 20,000 square meters of laboratory space to provide high-level education and conduct excellent research in the following domains: Digital Systems, Energy and Environment, and Materials and Processes. (

The candidate will join the "Energy, Fluids, Transfers" (EFT) of the CERI Energy Environment. The team's research focuses on complex thermo-fluidic optimization of energy components, systems, and processes. The applications range from highly efficient heat exchangers and coolers for electric vehicle batteries to complex solar systems such as innovative concentrated solar power plants or self-regulating photovoltaic/thermal panels. The team typically employs both numerical and experimental approaches, relying on the internal development of appropriate methodologies and tools. This includes the ALHEX research experimental platform for the characterization of multifunctional heat exchangers and thermo-fluidic components. (

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST):

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a mission-driven Research and Technology Organization (RTO) that develops competitive and market-oriented product/service prototypes for public and private stakeholders.

With its 600 employees, 75% of whom are researchers or innovation experts from all around the world, LIST is active in the fields of informatics, materials and environment and works across the entire innovation chain: fundamental/applied research, incubation and transfer of technologies.

Through its research into advanced materials and processes, the “Materials Research and Technology” (MRT) department, with its 200 researchers and engineers, contributes to the emergence of enabling technologies that underpin the innovation processes of local and international industry. MRT’s activities hinge on four thematic pillars: nanomaterials and nanotechnology, scientific instrumentation and process technology, structural composites, and functional polymers.

The candidate will be part of the Ferroic Materials for Transducers group, which belongs to the Nanotechnology Unit. This research group specialized on electroactive materials and more specifically on electrocaloric cooling and pyroelectric thermal energy harvesting.

Scientific context of the study

The LIST researchers have been working for many years on the definition and implementation of pyroelectric materials capable of producing electrical energy when subjected to thermal potential variations. Their expertise has recently been recognized through a publication in the journal NATURE [1]. This article demonstrates, for the first time worldwide, the experimental possibility of energy production in the Joule domain. This discovery is groundbreaking and opens up brand new development prospects for this technology, which was previously limited to low-power electronic applications (e.g., sensors).

The EFT team has been working for several years (through the SOLINOV project) on energy efficiency, particularly on the development and optimization of self-regulating and innovative Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) solar panels that simultaneously produce electricity and heat. In current scenarios of using these PVT panels, a significant amount of heat generated during the summer is lost.

The collaboration between the two research laboratories will allow to study and develop an innovative concept for integrating a pyroelectric component into a photovoltaic/thermal solar system. This intelligent coupling will make possible to harness previously lost thermal energy and create a brand new renewable energy generation system.

Job requirements


- Conduct a preliminary bibliographic study (PVT systems, pyroelectric materials)

- Propose integration configurations for a pyroelectric component in a PVT system

- Perform an energy static study to select preferred integration concepts and carry out initial sizing of the installation

- Conduct thermal and electrical characterization of the selected pyroelectric material for the study

- Contribute to the development of the test bench and laboratory prototype, and carry out an experimental study on the integration of the pyroelectric component

- Model/simulate thermo-fluid exchanges using finite element or volume simulation software, and optimize integration architectures and geometric configurations of the pyroelectric component

- Modify the existing test bench to test the new configurations obtained through simulation, and compare the numerical and experimental results

- Promote the work done by presenting at international conferences and publishing scientific papers in renowned international journals

- During the respective stays at IMT Nord Europe and LIST, teaching involvement will be possible, including conducting tutorials and practical exercises.

Candidate profile: (Prerequisites/Degree)

- Engineering degree or a Master's degree with a strong focus on energy, thermodynamics, or materials science

- Proficiency in finite volume or finite element modeling (Fluent, StarCCM+, Comsol, etc.) would be a plus

- Excellent analytical and synthesis skills, with a critical mindset

- Proficient in scientific communication (written/oral)

- An excellent English level is waited for this international collaboration

- The candidate will have to demonstrate a real team spirit, as he will have a predominant role in the good continuity of the project between two research teams located in two different countries.


- Scientific rigor and writing quality.

- Communication and teamwork skills.

- Organized, rigorous, autonomous, and responsive.

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


- Energetic Modeling and optimization

- Mastery of one or more system modeling software : Fluent, StarCCM+, Comsol, …

- Electric measurements

- Python programming


- Recognized scientific and technical knowledge in the field of Energetics

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

- Materials sciences


The position is available from 01/10/2024 for 48 months (Fixed-term contract (CDD)).

The PhD will be realized on both, alternatively IMT Nord Europe and LIST locations.

Information and application submission procedures:

For any information regarding the position, please contact:

Ugo PELAY, Lecturer (IMT Nord Europe), ;

Serge RUSSEIL, Lecturer (IMT Nord Europe), ;

Daniel BOUGEARD, Lecturer (IMT Nord Europe), ;

Emmanuel DEFAY, head of unit nano-technology (LIST),

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

Application deadline: 10/07/2024