PhD opportunities

PROVIDED - Optimisation of flexibility potential of industrial electricity demand.

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseEnergétique et génie des procédés
Doctoral SchoolSystems Engineering, Materials, Mechanics, Energy
SupervisorM. Georges KARINIOTAKIS
Co-supervisorM. Fabrizio SOSSAN
Research unitEnergy and Processes
Starting dateOctober 1st 2020
KeywordsIndustry decarbonisation, Flexibility, Storage, Industrial demand, Multi-energy systems, Renewable energies

Increased penetration of renewables within the energy mix will completely change the energy landscape. Big consumers will play a role in this transformation. Flexibility is already identified as a key parameter, not only to be able to increase the assets’ profitability on an always more variable environment, but also as an opportunity to create value by helping the renewables integration. Numerous research and demonstration projects in the field of smart grids have focused on valorising flexibility from residential electricity demand. This presents, however, considerable challenges like the recruitment of sufficient amounts of customers that makes it hard to achieve significant flexibility volumes within a territory. Flexibility from the industrial sector may play a huge role as an alternative thanks to the volumes it may offer. A specific industrial site may have the potential to modify its demand in electricity, heat, or gas, to respond to requests of grid operators for flexibility. Given the lower uncertainties than residential demand, this flexibility service can be provided in a reliable way helping grid operators in different situations like grid congestions and for avoiding curtailment of renewable generation. Furthermore, local flexibility markets emerge where industrial flexibility can be valorised. The development of flexibility options can be also done through an adapted exploitation of the available assets. This however does not necessarily contribute to decarbonising industry. Alternatively, investments on complementary assets like renewable energy units, storage devices or power to X technologies may lower CO2 emissions through auto-consumption. There is a gap however today on decision support tools to aid industrial actors to design such investments, to qualify and quantify the techno-economic flexibility potential of their industry and also to valorise operationally the resulting flexibility. Resolving these gaps may have a great impact on the decarbonisation of industry and more in general on the efforts towards the energy transition.

Scientific Objectives:

The first objective is to develop a methodology to quantify the technical flexibility potential of an industrial consumer. Due to the broad range of possible industrial consumer’s typologies, some specific industrial profiles will be selected. A main challenge is the modelling of industrial demand and how this can be as generic as possible due to the different typologies of industrial consumers. The role of storage will by studied as a hedging mean and as a complementary asset to exploit this flexibility. A method to valorise this flexibility in multiple markets will be proposed. This will permit to assess the overall economic potential of flexibilities from industrial consumption.


Initially, the first step is to define concrete test cases. The overall problematic can be considered at different geographical scales. Here we focus on individual industrial sites and on industrial basins containing an ensemble of industries. Such basins may represent a significant share of the total CO2 emissions for a country (i.e. such a single basin, like the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands represents 20% of the CO2 emissions of the country). Then, the aim is to develop a methodology to characterise flexibility from industrial facilities considering different industry typologies. Solutions to increase flexibility or hedge uncertainties will be identified. A method to optimise investments on assets related to these solutions will be proposed. The long term impact of regulation/decarbonisation policies will be analysed. Flexibility cost curves (aging, efficiency loss) will be defined. Finally, a method to optimise (multi-energy) flexibility offers to the energy markets will be proposed.

Expected results:

1) A tool for simulating trading strategies of industrial flexibility in energy markets combined to classic valorisation options. Assessment of financial benefits in the long term.
2) A decision-aid tool to quantify the flexibility potential of industrial facilities.
3) A decision-aid tool to dimension investments on assets (i.e. storage, RES) to enhance flexibility of industrial facilities.
4) Recommendations for regulations evolutions

Industrial collaboration : Air-Liquide.

To apply:
Please send your CV and motivation letter by email to AND using the subject code « THESIS Ind-Flex 2020». Also please fill-in the on-line form
ProfileTypical profile for a thesis at MINES ParisTech: Engineer and / or Master of Science - Good level of general and scientific culture. Good level of knowledge of French and English. Good analytical, synthesis, innovation and communication skills. Qualities of adaptability and creativity. Teaching skills. Motivation for research activity. Coherent professional project.

Prerequisite (specific skills for this thesis): The desired profile should have a background in electrical, industrial processes engineering or similar. Skills in applied mathematics (eg optimization) and computer programming (eg MATLAB) are required. The candidate must be motivated to work in a team.

To apply: Please send your CV and motivation letter by email to AND using the subject code « THESIS Ind-Flex 2020». Also please fill-in the on-line form
FundingConvention CIFRE