The Leuven Mecha(tro)nic System Dynamics division (LMSD) and the research group Sustainability Assessments of Materials and Circular Economy (SAM) are looking for a PhD student with knowledge of mechanical engineering for the development, validation and use of a Digital Twin of a novel biorefinery installation, from lab-scale to industrial scale. The LMSD division brings together researchers in the areas dynamics and mechatronics both from the numerical as the experimental field. More specifically with activities in the development of high-tech products, processes and systems, but also for the health of people and the well-being of society, for sustainable environment and energy supply, and for safe and comfortable mobility (www.mech.kuleuven.be/mod). SAM brings together researchers who are motivated to strengthen Circular Economy strategies by well-founded scientific insights. We develop and perform assessments of the environmental, economic and social hurdles and opportunities of circular technologies.
- You have a Master of Science in Engineering. You have a good mechanics background.
- Expertise in one or more of the following areas: mechatronic modelling, experimental analysis, state estimation or system identification, life cycle or sustainability assessments.
- You have a scientific, critical attitude and you are interested in interdisciplinary research.
- You are able to find a good balance between fundamental research questions that require a rigorous approach and application based challenges that desire a practical plan.
- You can demonstrate your interest in sustainability issues.
- You have good communication and presentation skills, proficient in English (Dutch is an asset, but not a requirement).
- You have an independent working style, and at the same time also a good team player.
ThePhD position is part of the interdisciplinary network project “Future chemicalFActories: Sustainability through Smart Digitalisation (FFASSD)” in which 3PhDs in 3 different research groups will collaborate intensively on thedevelopment of a digital twin concept for biorefinery technologies, accountingfor the mechanical design andperformance characteristics, the quality of the chemical process and sustainability aspects over the fulllifecycle.
A DigitalTwin is a virtual replica of an asset fed with data from the physical set-up,which allows for cost- and time-effective analysis, optimization, up-scalingand virtual scenario assessment. The aim of the FFASSD project is to apply thedigital twin concept on biorefinery technology with the objective to optimize theinstallation and the process in an integrated way for performance, energy andresource efficiency, environmental impact and cost.
Theproject focuses on a unique biorefinery technology developed at KU Leuven thatconverts wood to plastic building blocks and commodity chemicals. To turn sucha successful lab-scale process into an industrial one, a series of capitalintensive and laborious steps is classically required, which impedes rapidindustrialization and, hence innovation.
The DigitalTwin concept, as currently developed within mechanical engineering department atKU Leuven, is an interesting key enabling technology to tackle this challengewhen integrated with chemical performance, resource efficiency, environmentaland economic impacts.
The PhDresearch targets to bring the digital concepts used in the mechanical field toa multidisciplinary field while keeping emphasis on the mechatronic andsustainability challenges. In doing so, a good interaction and interfacingstrategy with the chemical process control deployed by a colleague researcherwith the project is strived for. The numerical modelling of the plant and therequired measurement strategy to feed the digital twin are key aspects of thework.