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  3. PhD position A techno-economical investigation of pathways to Sustainable Shipping

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PhD position A techno-economical investigation of pathways to Sustainable Shipping

What will be the fuel of the future for the maritime sector? There are over 50 fuel-engine combinations identified, you will find out which of them will play a role in the green maritime future.

2 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


To flatten the curve of climate change, urgent actions are needed. In 2019 the European Commission (EC) launched the European Green Deal (EGD) strategy to overcome climate change challenges. Complementary to this the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy was published in December 2020. Greening transport is one of the key objectives of the EGD. Transport accounts for 25% of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The objective of the EGD is to reduce the GHG emissions of transport by 90% by 2050. Waterborne transport accounts for approximately 13% of EU’s transport GHG emissions, which equals to more than 3% of the total EU GHG emissions.

In this context, seaports will play a major role in boosting the use of cleaner technologies, green energy carriers and logistics concepts in maritime transport (sea), port operations (transhipment and storage) and hinterland transport (road, rail, barge, and pipeline) to reduce GHG emissions. The Port of Rotterdam, the largest seaport in Europe with many transport connections for all modes of transport, is frontrunner in the energy transition and has the vision to become a zero-emission port by 2050. Together with the Fellow Ports HAROPA, Sines and DeltaPort (inland port), the Port of Rotterdam supports the EGD sustainability goals. The intention is to perform a large range of pilot projects as input for a Masterplan toward zero emissions in 2050.

For this larger project we are interested in gaining more insights into the potential of various fuels and the conditions under which they might flourish as input for the 2050 Masterplan. These fuels will be competing with each other. A key question is if we will end up in a situation with multiple fuels as a result of synergies with specific vessel types or once more in a winner takes all situation, with one dominant fuel overtaking all competing markets. The pilots and partners will provide insights into the actual viability of all aspects of a fuel (production, transport, storage, bunkering and use) and combined with investigations into existing capacity and the potential for expansion this would form a solid basis for a model to investigate these aspects.

In this PhD project you will work on developing state-of-the-art analytical tool in order to establish links between all aspects of the fuel and their development over time. What will determine the success of a fuel, which decisions (and support) are key in this development and how will this impact the take up over time. This requires identifying relevant aspects from innovation theory, but also to establish pathways, e.g. by application of e.g. Markov Chains, Epoch-Era or Game Theory.

As a PhD student, you will be part of a vibrant team of researchers in the Ship Design, Production and Operations groups, with a focus on all aspects of maritime technology. You will be supervised by Assistant prof. Jeroen Pruyn. The group is part of the Maritime and Transport Technology Department, which aspires to conduct world-class research & education focusing on the broader maritime and transport sector. The research is conducted from a deep understanding of the underlying physics and is oriented towards industrial applications and societal needs.


Applicants for this position should have the following:

  • either a MSc. degree in mechanical, maritime or aerospace engineering with an interest in economics, innovation or related fields or a MSc degree in (Maritime) Economics with a working understanding of the technological side;
  • a strong background in fluid mechanics, ideally with experimental experience;
  • a strong mathematical/computational background (e.g. Matlab, Python, Simulation Software);
  • fluent communication skills in English, both in written and oral.


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Additional information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr.ir. Jeroen Pruyn, Assistant Professor, email: J.F.J.Pruyn@tudelft.nl.