PhD scholarship in Coordinated Control of Power Electronic Converters in Energy Islands

Wednesday 21 Sep 22

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The Danish government is pioneering the Energy Islands with the agreement to erect two energy islands by around 2030. One will be in the North Sea as an artificial island and one in the Baltic Sea at the Bornholm Island. Energy islands are deemed as a vital step to scale up and speed up the deployment of the massive amounts of offshore wind energy. The current point-to-point, uncoordinated approach to offshore wind was designed when offshore wind was a nascent sector. Energy islands will connect the power grids of multiple countries and transport many Gigawatts from hundreds or even thousands of surrounding offshore wind turbines to the shores of the countries.

There will be various power electronic converters associated with the energy islands. The multi-purpose interconnectors (MPI) based on the modular multilevel converter high-voltage direct-current (MMC-HVDC) will be the interfaces and connections between the energy islands and the onshore power grids to achieve flexible and reliable operation of the electricity system. Moreover, green hydrogen can be generated using the surplus offshore wind power. Power-to-X systems can be built on the islands or onshore. Hydrogen production in Power-to-X systems should be properly coordinated with other more conventional storage technologies such as batteries.  

There are a lot of research questions to be answered before such power electronics-based energy islands are constructed, e.g.:

  • How to coordinate control of power electronic converters (e.g., grid-forming and grid-following inverters) and energy storage devices (e.g., supercapacitors, batteries, hydrogen storage)?
  • How to deal with operation and control of 100% converter-based energy islands with no inertia?
  • How to use the MPI to support future onshore low-inertia systems?

Responsibilities and qualifications
Your responsibilities will be to develop methods for coordinated control of power electronic converters associated with energy islands. These will include control of MMC-HVDC based MPI and power electronic converters in wind turbines and energy storage devices such as Power-to-X systems. The PhD studies would bring contributions to the research related to:

  • Offshore energy islands in terms of operation and control, green hydrogen production and grid interconnection.
  • MPI control strategies to fulfil the grid demands (e.g., frequency response, emergency support, reserve and system security services) in the neighbouring countries.  
  • Control of energy storage systems with different technologies and behaviour, e.g., supercapacitors, batteries, and hydrogen storage.
  • Coordinated control of power electronic converters (e.g., DC-DC, DC-AC and AC-DC converters) to achieve stable and flexible grid operation.

Person Specification:

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • Postgraduate degree at Master level in a related subject area.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge of and/or relevant industrial experience in:
    • Operation and control of power electronic converters in renewable energy and energy storage systems, preferably in MMC-HVDC based offshore wind farms
    • Grid codes and grid-connection requirements of renewable energy systems, especially wind farms
    • Simulation tools such as PowerFactory, PSCAD and MATLAB/Simulink
  • Ability to disseminate research outcomes, e.g., through publication of scientific articles and reports, and presentation in international conferences and events

Communication and Team Working

  • Fluency in English
  • Ability in effective communication and collaboration in international environments

Desirable Criteria

  • Experimental experience (e.g., real-time and hardware-in-the-loop simulation of power converters and power systems)
  • Ability to carry out independent research
  • Industrial collaboration experience

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

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 3 years.

Starting date is February 1st, 2023 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is full-time.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Dr. Mehdi Savaghebi medi@dtu.dk or Dr. Gen Li genli@dtu.dk from the Electric Energy Group, DTU Engineering Technology.  

You can read more about DTU Engineering Technology at https://engtech.dtu.dk/

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 10 October 2022 (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 (including publications list if applicable)
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • A two-page research plan (free format)
  • Names and contacts of two potential references

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

Who are we?
DTU Engineering Technology covers technology implementation and engineering practice in 11 research areas, and thus has direct links to the industry’s current challenges and development needs. Through business collaborations in teaching, student projects and at the employee level, we systematically develop tools, methods, and theories for implementation and hands-on transfer of technology, knowledge, and engineering through new products and solutions in cooperation with companies.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.