Design & Control of Power Electronic Converters for Low-Carbon Power Systems

Decarbonizing the electrical transmission network will require the amount of renewable resources integrated onto the network to be increased substantially above existing levels [1]. Nearly all renewable energy resources rely on power electronic converters to interface to the power system.

Power-electronic converters differ fundamentally in their construction and control to synchronous machines, which are used to interface traditional generation sources such as coal, gas or nuclear. Transitioning to a low-carbon future will necessitate that the proportion of synchronous generation on the transmission network decreases, and that the proportion of power-electronic interfaced renewables increase significantly. Operating such systems will bring numerous challenges associated with decreasing levels of inertia, increased likelihood of adverse control interactions (as seen in the recent GB blackout involving the Hornsea One wind farm) and decreased short-circuit levels [2].

As we move towards a low-carbon future a much higher burden will have to be placed upon power electronic converters to provide support features to the power system that they have not to date been expected to, such as frequency support, inertia emulation and fault-current contribution. At the same time new highly efficient wideband-gap semiconductor technologies such as Silicon Carbide and Gallium Nitride are going to revolutionise the design of power-electronic converters, enabling more efficient topologies with higher switching frequencies and lower sizes [3-4].

This PhD project will investigate interaction between the control and design of next-generation power electronic converters and the requirements that will have to be placed on them to enable a robust and resilient low-carbon power-electronic dominated power transmission systems.

It is expected that this PhD project will contain a significant experimental element, with mentoring and support in developing these skills provided by the research group.  Lab-scale wind turbine and HVDC converter prototypes are currently under construction within the group and will be available for the student to use. Funding is also available to support the development of a high-power Silicon Carbide MOSFET based grid emulator and the purchase of a new real-time digital simulator.

[1] http://fes.nationalgrid.com/

[2] https://www.nationalgrideso.com/publications/system-operability-framework-sof

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZek-34-sus

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6_fP85gR2o

**Note that this position will be closed early once a suitable candidate has been identified**

Closing Date: 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Design & Control of Power Electronic Converters for Low-Carbon Power Systems
Design & Control of Power Electronic Converters for Low-Carbon Power Systems

Principal Supervisor: 

Dr Paul D Judge

Assistant Supervisor: 

Dr Michael Merlin

Eligibility: 

Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.

A first-class (or expected first-class) Bachelors or Masters level degree in Electrical, Electronic or Similar Engineering Discipline.

Funding: 

Tuition fees + stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students not eligible)

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: