Postdoc in Advanced Process Control Systems

Tuesday 08 Jun 21

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The section for Scientific Computing at DTU Compute offers a 2.5-year Postdoc position in Advanced Process Control. The position is available as soon as possible and ideally from July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.

You must combine systems and control with high-performance scientific computing and mathematical modeling to develop novel numerical algorithms and systems for advanced process control. In particular, you should contribute in all aspects of the development of a plant-wide coordinated advanced process control system for reduced oil-in-water in produced discharge water at offshore oil production facilities in the Danish sector of the North Sea. You are expected to cooperate and be eager to build relations with researchers at universities and in industry. You are driven by a desire to produce new research, be innovative and perform the best possible  supervision of students and dissemination of results in scientific journals.

Project Description
The main goal of this postdoc project is to develop a plant-wide coordinated advanced process control system that significantly reduces the oil in the produced water discharge from offshore installations. We will do this by implementing plant-wide economic nonlinear model predictive controllers. This advanced process control system enables zero emissions of oil-in-water and high oil production. This postdoc project will develop and demonstrate advanced control for the slug flow mitigation as well as the processes in the water treatment: the 3-phase separator, the hydro-cyclone, the de-gasser/flotation unit, and the membrane filtration. The advanced control system will be made such that it can automatically exchange data with existing PLC, OPC and SCADA systems. In addition, we will make the system able to incorporate existing data in building the prediction models as well as be able to actively learning the models during operation. The developed advanced process control systems will be tested at the pilot plant located at Aalborg University (AAU) Esbjerg. We will adapt the system and work intensively with industry in order to facilitate industrial test and deployment. To do this, we plan for adaptations and modifications of the system based on the outcomes of the experimental tests in the pilot plant and the feedback from industrial collaborators.

Responsibilities and tasks
Through your commitment, you will take on the responsibility to develop an advanced process control system for offshore oil facilities. This involves:

  • Develop individual MPC control modules for slug-flow suppression, 3-phase separator control, hydrocyclone control, degasser/flotation control, and membrane filtration control.
  • Develop a plant-wide coordinated advanced process control system based on the individual MPC control modules.
  • Automatic seamless exchange of data between the developed system and existing PLC, OPC and SCADA systems currently used in the industry.
  • Development a SQL-based database system for fast and robust storing/reading/writing of data from multiple sources.
  • Develop graphical user interfaces for process plant operators.
  • Develop an API for process control engineering experts.
  • Close collaboration with industrial partners to facilitate the transfer of the system for industrial use.
  • Publish the results in journal papers.
  • Participate in practical verification of the developed systems.
  • Participate in research management and funding applications
  • Advise B.Sc., M.Sc., and PhD students.

You must have a strong interest in the development of novel advanced process control systems.

As a formal qualification, you must hold an MSc degree in Petroleum Engineering or equivalent and a PhD degree in Applied Mathematics with a strong focus on scientific computing and optimization based control. You must have a strong documented record of accomplishment in developing advanced process control systems, preferably for the oil and gas industry. We expect that you have experience from industry with development of advanced process control systems. Previous experience with collaboration between DHRTC (Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre) and DTU is considered an advantage. You must be able to document previous experience with development of model-based optimization and control algorithms in Python as well as in Matlab. Experience with containerization tools for software deployment, such as Docker, is required. 

In addition, we expect the following qualifications

  • Experience with both linear and nonlinear MPC for chemical systems and mathematical modeling of such systems. The successful candidate will be able to document both academic and industrial experience in advanced process control systems for the oil and gas industry.
  • Documented knowledge of applied mathematics and petroleum engineering. The ideal candidate has degrees in applied mathematics and petroleum engineering.
  • Documented experience with design, implementation and deployment of advanced process control systems. We expect that you can document experience with programming and architectural design of APC for real processes.
  • Strong programming skills in Python, Matlab and Bash (Unix shell).
  • Knowledge of C/C++, Julia, Fortran and other tools for scientific computing is an advantage.
  • Experience with the use of SQL-based database systems, Postgresql, mysql, etc.
  • Extensive experience with scientific publications about dynamic optimization, optimal control and topics related to model predictive control.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.
  • Self-reliant working style but with strong interpersonal skills and an ability to collaborate with other researchers at universities and in industry.
  • Curious and ambitious personality with an ambition to have an industrial impact and make real results.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor John Bagterp Jørgensen.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
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 period of employment is 2.5 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from John Bagterp Jørgensen, email:

You can read more about DTU Compute at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than Wednesday 23 June 2021 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Diploma (PhD and MSc)
  • List of publications
  • Description and documentation for your experience with development of advanced process control systems

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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