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PhD position Grid ancillary services to HVDC with battery storage and advanced power electronics

EnergyVille (Genk), Vlaams Gewest, BelgiumPhD

Job description


Today Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are gaining importance in the HVAC grids for energy storage to cope with intermittent Renewable Energy Systems (RES) but also to provide grid ancillary services such as grid congestion management, voltage support, or power balancing. HVDC is a new type of grid concept that has so far been used to simplify complex HVAC grid extensions, such as the grid integration of large offshore wind farms. HVDC systems are possible by the use of advanced power electronics solutions like the Modular Multilevel Converter(MMC), which is the interface between the windmills, the HVDC network, and the AC power system. Considering all this, it is useful to investigate the HVDC grid ancillary services that can be covered with MMCs and BESS as well as how they should be integrated. This includes a study of power electronic converters and circuitry for providing both voltage and current control to the grid and the implementation of the battery control to optimize its performance vs. the grid but also its safety and lifetime. This work should explore novel circuit and battery topologies and their control systems.

The PhD work will investigate the possibilities and implications of providing ancillary grid services to High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) grids with integrated battery storage and advance power electronics.

Potential PhD(s) work: Perform a study of power electronic converters, mainly MMC converters, for providing both voltage and current control in a robust and fast way to the high voltage grid and the implementation of the battery control to optimize its performances vs the grid but also considering its safety and lifetime. This includes the modelling and construction of DC/DC converters, transmission lines, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), and grid stability. The research should therefore explore novel circuit and battery topologies and their control systems. Also, we expect proof of concept in the Energyville lab. The experimental work should investigate engineering and development methodologies with hardware in the loop (HiL)simulation and scaled-down experiments, and thus provide a digital twin for the grid operation.

We are looking for a highly motivated and scientifically excellent candidate with an electrical engineering background. Problem-solving and innovative attitude, analytical thinking, practical skills for laboratory working, and effective communication skills.

The PhD candidate can start from existing power converter models and prototypes, as well as dedicated expertise available in the research group, and will collaborate with the other research group members.

Our Offer:

A 4-year fully funded PhD-research project. This PhD position is a cooperation between VITO unit Energy Technology and the Power Systems and Power Electronics groups of KU Leuven.  Both institutes are well located with brand-new EnergyVille laboratory facilities. 

How to apply?
Applications should be submitted online and include a copy of your CV, diploma transcripts and a cover letter. Applications will be processed on a first come first served basis until a suitable candidate is found.
Call for the next VITO PhD jury closes March 25, 2024.
More information is available on PhD | VITO.

Job requirements

• You hold a M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering or power electronic.

• You are fluent in English, both oral and written.

• You take initiative and can work independently, while you keep on consulting and discussing with a team.

• You are creative, results-driven and can meet quality output with stringent deadlines.