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PhD Studentship: Is Building-integrated Energy Storage a Good Idea?

University of Bath - Architecture & Civil Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 maintenance stipend, Home/EU tuition fees, training support fee of £1,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th February 2019
Closes: 30th April 2019

Lead Supervisor: Dr Stephen Allen

Contact email:

Fossil-fuelled energy use represents around 80% of global greenhouse (GHG) emissions, a huge proportion of which is used to heat and power our buildings. There is an urgent need to reduce GHG emissions while providing energy security and improving access to energy around the world. 

Energy storage will have a crucial role to play in this. Storage can better integrate our electricity and heat systems, and aid decarbonisation, by:

  • Helping to integrate higher levels of both renewable energy supplies (e.g. wind and solar power) and the electrification of energy demands (e.g. electric cars and heat pumps)
  • Supporting greater production of energy where it is consumed
  • Improving energy system resource efficiency
  • Improving electricity grid stability, flexibility, reliability and resilience.

At the building scale, technology options include both electrical storage (e.g. Tesla’s Powerwall) and novel thermal storage (e.g. phase change materials). 

However, while some energy storage technologies are technologically mature, most are still in the early stages of development. Many questions therefore remain over how best to adopt more energy storage. For example, for storage at a building level, what physical size would novel storage technologies need to be to enable energy demand to be shifted by a few hours to minimise peaks?  What sort of carbon saving would that achieve?  What would be the environmental impacts of each technology? 

This PhD will use a combination of dynamic energy modelling and life cycle assessment to assess a range of novel energy storage options for buildings. There will be an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across the world under the IEA Annex 32 on Energy Conservation on Energy Storage, and to feed in to the new £36 million Active Buildings Centre, which involves the University of Bath and a range of other leading academic and industrial organisations around the UK. The outputs of the work will be relevant to energy-systems design and energy policy around the world.

Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the project, the ideal PhD candidate will have a strong engineering/mathematical background and will be familiar with one or more of the following topics: dynamic energy modelling, building physics, thermodynamics, life cycle assessment, computer programming. 

For more information about entry requirements, language requirements, and studying a for a PhD in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, see

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Steve Allen (

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Architecture & Civil Engineering.

This project is eligible for inclusion in funding rounds scheduled for end of November 2018, January 2019, February 2019, March 2019 and April 2019. A full application must have been submitted before inclusion in a funding round.

Funding will cover Home/EU tuition fees, a maintenance stipend (£14,777 pa (2018/19 rate)) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years. Early application is strongly recommended.

Expected start date: 30th September 2019

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