Postgraduate research opportunities

PhD Cost-Effective Generator & MVDC Integration for Wind Farms

A 48 month fully-funded industrial PhD studentship to investigate new DC collection systems for wind farms & new turbine drive train technologies to minimise capital and maintenance costs, and increase system reliability and efficiency. Sponsored by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy & Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend

Opens

28 March 2019

Deadline

27 March 2020

Duration

48 months

Eligibility

This PhD studentship follows the standard EPSRC residency and academic qualification criteria:

  • Ordinary resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.
  • Upper second class UK honours degree in Electrical Engineering, Power Systems, Renewable Energy, Energy Systems, Mechanical Engineering or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.

More information can be found here.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

One of the main drivers in wind technology is the reduction of the project cost (CAPEX) and the operation of maintenance cost (O&M). The wind turbine collection system is gaining attention as a potential cost saver infrastructure. Different alternatives have been suggested: DC parallel connection, DC series connection and low AC frequency collection systems. Some researchers have suggested that DC collection systems for wind farms might present reduced running cost compared to the standard AC technology, but it is highly dependent on the used DC converter technology.  With main focus on enabling DC technologies in the power generation industry impacting the energy costs (LCoE), the classical wind farm electrical power train topologies will be reviewed and optimized to deliver the best trade-off cost-efficiency-reliability. The wind turbine drive train can be redesign considering non-conventional technologies such as a geared wind turbine with wounded rotor synchronous machines connected to a diode rectifier. At the same time, the integration of energy storage systems and another source of generation such solar can reduce even further the total cost and simplify the system operation.

This PhD proposal aims to investigate a new integrated DC collection system and wind turbine drivetrain technology that might improve the wind farm efficiency and reduce the wind farm construction and operational cost.  In the proposed concept, the AC collection system is replaced by a DC system where the AC network is interfaced by a multilevel converter ensuring low harmonics emissions and grid compliance in any scenario. Different electrical power-train topologies of the wind turbines are analysed and evaluated on the basis of DC collector systems, selecting the best cost-efficient topologies for further investigation.  Apart from the wind turbines, different elements like photovoltaic generation systems and energy storage elements can be added to the collector system enabling the provision of ancillary services such as inertia emulation and frequency support, without disturbing the turbine operation. This scheme is in the early development stages and requires further research regarding the wind turbine and converter topologies, control, protection and stability perspective. During the PhD a prototype of the studied system is expected to be built.

Funding Details

This PhD studentship follows the standard EPSRC residency and academic qualification criteria:

  • Ordinary resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.
  • Upper second class UK honours degree in Electrical Engineering, Power Systems, Renewable Energy, Energy Systems, Mechanical Engineering or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.

More information can be found at https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/.

 

During the PhD the student will do some fully funded secondments with the industrial partners.

The standard EPSRC monthly stipend will be complemented with a generous industrial contribution.

 

Supervisor

The main PhD supervisor will be Dr Agusti Egea-Alvarez together with SGRE and OREC industrial supervisors.

 

Dr Agustí Egea-Àlvarez is Strathclyde Chancellor’s fellow (Lecturer) at the electronic & electrical engineering department and member of the PEDEC (Power Electronics, Drives and Energy Conversion) group. He obtained his BSc, MSc and PhD from the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona in 2008, 2010 and 2014 respectively.  In 2015 he was a Marie Curie fellow in the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI). In 2016 he joined Siemens Gamesa as converter control engineer working on grid forming controllers and alternative HVDC schemes for offshore wind farms. He is a member of IEEE, IET and has been involved in several CIGRE working groups.

How to apply

Candidates interested in applying should first email agusti.egea@strath.ac.uk for an informal discussion.  In the same email the candidates should submit their CV, academic transcript, and a covering letter outlining their suitability for the position.  Following review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be called for interview.

Application submission deadline is 30 June 2019.

The project will start on 1 October 2019.