Postdoc in reversible CO2 heat pumps for Danish Electric Ferries at SDU Sønderborg

Electrical engineeringEnergy InformaticsEnergy Systems Engineering (Energy Engineering)Energy TechnologyMechanical Engineering
Sep 01, 2023 21:59:00 GMT+00:00
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The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) invites applications for a 2-year postdoc position in the area of sustainable cooling and heating technologies. The candidate will be offered the exciting opportunity to develop next generation reversible heat pumps for the Danish electric ferries. All the activities will be carried out within the ECO2-ferries project in close collaboration with relevant Danish industrial partners.

Unique opportunity

The research group working on Sustainable Cooling and Heating Technologies is a newly established investigation unit in the recently founded Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (DME). DME is building up a Mechanical Engineering Degree and laboratories to support the educational activities as well as its research and commercial activities. Therefore, the candidate will have the unique opportunity to influence the further development of both the new research group and DME.

Workplace description

The Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering covers innovation, research and education spanning from fundamentals to applications of engineering science. All our courses are taught in English reflecting the fact that more than half our students and staff are internationals. The Cooling and Heating Research Group is located at SDU’s beautiful campus in Sønderborg, in the inspiring building of Alsion, which is a centre for science, culture and learning in the heart of Sønderborg and perched on the strait of water separating the island of Als from the mainland. The university has very close relations to the industry in Sønderborg, Southern Denmark and Northern Germany, among others. A significant fraction of the projects in the centre are conducted in close cooperation with the industry, which count world leading companies in crucial fields, such as e-mobility and energy efficiency.

Research project in which the successful candidate will be involved

Ferries are responsible for 0.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emission annually in Denmark and often sail close to cities where they add to the already critical air pollution levels. This holds especially true for small Danish municipalities, as diesel-driven ferries contribute up to 20 % to their total global warming contribution. Therefore, fully electric powered ferries are taking centre stage in Denmark. However, the current wide use of synthetic refrigerants (and their leaks into the atmosphere) in the maritime sector leads even 100 % electricity-powered ships not to be actually greenhouse gas emission free. In addition, currently the driving range of fully electric powered ferries is penalized due to the lack of an optimized heat pump system layout, suitable battery thermal management strategy and appropriate waste heat recovery approaches.

The successful candidate will be fully employed within the ECO2-ferries project. The objective of the ECO2-ferries project is to develop the first heat pump being completely tailored to 100 % electricity-powered ferries. The use of CO2 as a natural (i.e. future-proof) refrigerant of the heat pump will finally lead 100 % electricity-powered ferries to be actually greenhouse gas emission free ships. In addition, CO2 will allow for a compact heat pump and high safety levels (i.e. non-flammable and non-toxic). High energy performance will be guaranteed by the implementation of (i) an optimized system layout, (ii) a proper battery thermal management approach, (iii) a suitable heat recovery technique as well as (iv) an effective and robust overall control strategy.

The project will involve the University of Southern Denmark, Odense Maritime Technology and Marstal Navigationsskole as project partners and Danske Maritime, Danfoss A/S, BCOOL A/S, Danish Technological Institute, Ærø municipality and Ærøfærgerne as project supporters.

Job description

The successful candidate will:

  • be the key person implementing an optimized system layout, a proper battery thermal management approach, a suitable heat recovery technique as well as an effective and robust overall control strategy for the reversible transcritical CO2 heat pump for the Danish electric ferries within the ECO2-ferries project;
  • carry out the technical, dissemination and management activities related to the ECO2-ferries project;
  • be able to be involved in the daily supervision of Master and Bachelor students working on similar scientific topics;
  • have to publish her/his work in scientific journals with high impact;
  • be able to assist in teaching activities;
  • be engaged in funding applications.

Profile and requirements

The successful candidate should have:

  • a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical (or Energy or Electrical or similar) Engineering;
  • strong background in Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, Control Engineering and Energy Conversion Systems;
  • experience in implementing advanced simulation models of energy systems (preferably of vapour-compression cooling and/or heating systems) by using Simscape and/or Dymola/Modelica;
  • great capacities to work both in team and independently;
  • strong communication skills in English, both spoken and written.

Contact information

For further information, please visit and contact Associate Professor Lars Duggen, (Head of Centre for Industrial Mechanics, tel. +45 65501640, e-mail: or Associate Professor Paride Gullo (tel. +45 65507314, email: or Associate Professor Hossein Ramezani (tel. +45 65509217, email:

Salary and terms of employment

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union.

The position is limited in time for 2 years. Starting date is on 15 January 2024. The employment will cease without further notice at the end of the period. However, given appropriate finances, the possibility for contract extension is available depending on the candidate’s performance.

Applications must be submitted online by 01.09.2023 using the link below. The faculty expects applicants to read How to apply before applying. The application must be in English and must include the following documents:

  • a letter stating the interest, motivation and qualifications for the ECO2-ferries project (max. 2 pages);
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae, including personal contact information, describing research, along with any other relevant information, e.g. teaching experience, computational skills, etc.;
  • a complete list of publications;
  • 3 most relevant publications in which the applicant wishes to rely on (preferably the applicant being the first author);
  • the verified copies of official Certificates/Diplomas (MSc and Ph.D.).

Attached files must be submitted in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.

Applicants will be informed of the assessment. Qualified applicants may be called for interview.


The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. Therefore, all interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.

Further information about the Faculty of Engineering.


Send application
Deadline 2023-Sept-01

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Engineering by completing the application form