Applied Multiscale Optimization of Distributed Energy Systems

Type: Semester project (10 credits) or Master project (30 credits)
Period: Spring 2016


The immediate challenges which climate change and ressource scarcity pose to our energy systems, require the increase of energy efficiency in all fields and at all scales. Urban energy systems (UES) are becoming a focus of this endavour since 75\% of the global energy demand is arising in urban settlements  [UN Habitat]. The increase of UES’s efficiency requires action at several stages of cities’ evolution (e.g. planning, design, operation) and at various scales (e.g. building to city scale). Consequently different stakeholders (e.g. urban planners, energy service providers, building owners) are involved which have to take different decisions (e.g. network extension, local utilities) and have therefore different questions they seek answers for.

The IPESE group has been working on the utilization of modeling and optimization techniques to help answering these questions e.g. [Rager]. Currently a comprehensive optimization model of UES is developed which specifically aims to support decisions about thermal networks. The main objective of this student project is the application of this model to provide answers to some of the practical questions.

  1. Familiarization with the optimization model
  2. Categorization of practical questions in the field of distributed urban energy systems
  3. Adaption/extension of the model to allow answering the identified questions
  4. Application of the model to optimize UES
  5. Verification of models using georeferenced data


Desired skills are:

  • Programing skills in scripting languages and/or mathematical programing
  • Modeling of energy systems (EPFL courses: Modeling and Optimization of Energy Systems, or equivalent)
  • Thermodynamics and energy conversion systems (EPFL courses: Thermo I/II, Energy conversion, Advanced Energetics, or equivalent)
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Object-oriented (OO) programing paradigm
  • Version control systems (i.e. GIT)

Since this is a very exhaustive list of skills you are not expected to have already acquired all of them.
Missing skills will be acquired during the project.

How to apply

Please send a mail to [email protected] attaching your transcript of records and CV.


As the IPESE research group is located at the EPFL campus in Sion, students will need to commute some days. A travel expense compensation of 1600 CHF (Master project) or 600 CHF (Semester project) will be given to students. The frequency of travel to Sion will be agreed with the project supervisor.


UN Habitat. Cities and climate change initiative – launch and conference report. URL

Jakob Rager. Urban Energy System Design from the Heat Perspective using mathematical Programming including thermal Storage. URL 00000.