Sorption Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps represent a promising technology to accomplish decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sectors. Within this category sorption heat pumps can recover are interesting for their eco-friendly properties. 
This project is focused on adsorption heat pumps (AHP) in renewable heating applications. The project aims at overcoming the existing barriers to introduce these systems on the market by finding a good trade-off between increased energy performance and cost reduction. The research activities are two folds: 
(i) a holistic modelling approach will be developed to optimize both the design and control of AHPs; 
(ii) novel advanced sorption materials will be prepared and characterised. 
A strict integration between the two above mentioned activities will be performed in the project in order to effectively prepare new sorbents with the requested properties and to optimize the adsorption bed of the heat pump for their use. Thanks to the approach from nano (material level scale) to meter (system level scale) scale, it will be defined a holistic methodology for AHP design and it will be supported the development of commercial AHPs with novel and affordable adsorbent materials. The PhD candidate will be responsible for both the modelling of the system and the experimental test of the adsorption material, respectively at KU Leuven and at The University of Edinburgh.
You will work within two leading research groups on heat transformation that strive to continuous innovation in the field. The research group at KU Leuven, belonging to the Mechanical Engineering Department and located at the KU Leuven campus in Geel and linked to the research activities in Energyville, has a wide experience in Heat pump technology and system modelling.
The Emerging Sustainable Technologies Laboratory (ESTech Lab) at University of Edinburgh, belonging to the Institute for Materials and Processes of the School of Engineering, has knowledge and expertise in nanoporous materials integration in processes to achieve energy savings compared to traditional solutions. 
You will attain a joint KU Leuven/The University of Edinburgh joint degree reflecting skills in modelling, design and testing of new renewable energy technologies along with fundamental knowledge of material properties. 
You will be requested to spend part of the study period at KU Leuven in Belgium and part at The University of Edinburgh in UK.

Further Information: 

Closing Date: 1st October 2021 (or earlier if a suitable candidate is found).
To apply, and for more information, please see the KU Leuven site here.

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Dr Alessia Arteconi (KU Leuven)


• Minimum entry qualification: MEng Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, energy engineering or related subjects, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. 

Desirable criteria: Experience with programming languages is considered beneficial (software that can be used in the project: Python, Matlab, Modelica)
Willingness to cooperate in an open and multi-disciplinary environment, creative mind set and ability to take initiatives


This position includes stipend and fees in accordance with KU Leuven regulations and Belgian legislation applicable to PhD scholarship holders. This consists of a 4 year contract as PhD student in a joint doctorate at KU Leuven and The University of Edinburgh. Further information at

Informal Enquiries: