UK: Two PhD Studentships in Energy Management at University of Reading

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Supervisors: William Holderbaum & Victor Becerra

Project Overview: Ports are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions as they have to move up to 10,000 containers a day from ship to road or rail transport and back. The aim of the project is to identify sustainable energy solutions which enable ports to optimise the operation of cranes, manage transient power flows within its electrical network and maintain power quality in a way that will substantially reduce primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project involves studying energy flows inside two large container ports, and quantifying transient power flows associated with cranes raising and lowering containers, as well as the operation of other large electrical loads within the port. The project will explore the potential benefits of energy storage connected to the AC network of the port.

The PhD studentships are offered through the Climate KIC: SUSPORT’ project (delivering sustainable energy solutions to ports) which involves multiple industrial partners (CRESS, Port of Felixstowe, Port of Valencia, and RHDHV). In particular the PhD students at the University of Reading will focus on developing and validating a model of the port AC network, study the typical power flows within the network, and quantify the benefits of using controlled energy storage. PhD student will develop novel control systems to optimally manage the energy flows between the storage units and the network so as to improve the sustainability of the port operations.

The student will have the opportunity to take part in Climate KIC activities including compulsory participation in ‘the Journey’ a summer school involving placements abroad and group activities with other students.


  • 2.1 honours degree, or MSc/MRes in relevant discipline e.g. Electrical Engineering, Control Systems, Power Engineering
  • Experience in power system simulation in Matlab/Simulink environment is highly desirable.
    • Demonstrate a capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to the standard necessary to qualify for a PhD
    • If English is not your first language IELTS 6.5+ overall and 5.5+ in all sections is required (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking).


  • Cover annual tuition fees at Home/EU rate + annual stipend of approx. £15,600. Note that the additional fees that apply to international students are not covered.  Other motivated students can apply but need their own funding to cover the difference in fees.
  • Three year programme starting March 2014

How to apply:  Please submit an application for a PhD in Cybernetics quoting ‘GS13-133 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box in  the Funding Section of the application.

Application Deadline:  Open until position filled

Further Enquiries:   Dr William Holderbaum +44(0)118-378-6086 /, or Professor Victor Becerra,  +44(0)118-378-6703,

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria.

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