Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) for Electricity Derived Transport Fuelling



£41,526 per annum

Sustainable Heavy Duty Truck, Marine and Rail Transport (SMaRT)

An exciting opportunity to contribute to research into decarbonising heavy-duty transport, one of the most pressing yet uncertain challenges in mitigating Climate Change. We are looking for a post-doctoral research fellow for a 2 ½ year post to deliver research for the SMaRT project. Our role is to assess the power system impacts of producing electricity derived fuel, reflecting various motive power options, as well as to examine the implications for each technology’s potential.

This is a 2 ½ year, full-time, Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position on Electricity Derived Transport Fuelling. The post is offered by the School of the Built Environment, University of Reading. SMaRT is funded under the EPSRC End Use Energy Demand Tech Call 2 and explicitly linked to the CREDS (Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions) research community. SMaRT is led by the University of Nottingham and includes Co-investigators at Newcastle University. CREDS is a UKRI Energy Programme funded initiative with a budget of £19.5 million involving 13 universities, with a core team based at the University of Oxford.

Decarbonisation of transport represents one of the most pressing current research challenges with significant uncertainty around how best to power future heavy-duty transport. Battery electric power is predicted to become the dominant mode of propulsion in future passenger cars. However, for long haul heavy-duty transport, challenges remain around practical range, payload and total cost, with no current, single, economically viable decarbonised solution. The SMaRT project will assess a range of possible low carbon fuels including hydrogen and battery electric, with a particular emphasis on ammonia. The Reading contribution concentrates on the power grid impacts and implications which would arise if such fuel is derived from electricity.

The project will assess the spatial and temporal power grid loading from electricity derived HGV, rail or marine ‘fuel’. The analysis will include electrolyser derived hydrogen, electric charging and localised energy storage. Emphasis will be given to the power grid challenges presented by vehicle depots / transport hubs, with consideration of alternative temporal fuelling characteristics. Plausible fleet fuel adoption assumptions will be tested to identify network hotspots, capacity thresholds and load characteristics that complement / antagonise other electricity network demands.

The successful applicant will work alongside other researchers at Reading applying a common or similar approach to Electric Vehicle related research in parallel projects. As well as effective team-working across the SMaRT institutions, close collaboration is expected with researchers in the CREDS Mobility and Flexibility themes both within Reading’s Energy and Environmental Engineering research group and at other UK academic institutions.

You will have:

  • Excellent programming skills preferably as applied to energy network modelling
  • Ability to analyse and interpret patterns of energy supply, especially variable renewable supply, and electricity demand
  • Experience (or in-depth knowledge of) a variety of mathematical modelling techniques
  • Willingness to engage with external academic and industry partners for data collection and dissemination
  • Collaborative approach to research and team-work
  • Postgraduate research experience in energy systems or transport electrification modelling
  • Doctorate in a relevant specialism
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Record of publications commensurate with career stage

Please apply here.