Our projectsAccelerating Minigrid Deployment for Climate Action

Sustainable Development Goal target(s)

  • SDG 13 (Climate Action)
  • SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
  • SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)
  • SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)
Project lead Mazher Syed (Electronic & Electrical Engineering)
Open to year groups
  • 3 - 5
  • PGT
  • PGR
  • Electronic & Electrical Engineering
  • Computer & Information Sciences

Please note: availability can vary between degrees. Please contact your advisor of studies and the project lead for more information.

How to apply

To apply for this project please complete our application form.

Project overview

There are near a billion people without access to secure, clean and cheap electricity in the world, many of whom are found in rural communities. The transformation of the energy system in line with global climate and sustainability goals calls for rapid uptake of renewables for all energy applications. This will support national and international carbon reduction targets but also form the basis of supporting many of the SDGs.

Renewable mini-grids can be key providers of electricity access in remote areas. Although innovative technological advancements continue to expand the application and operational range of mini-grids there are also many examples that stopped operating after a few years. Sometimes this is due to inappropriate technical solutions being provided, sometimes it is the inability to provide a suitable level of operation and maintenance (O&M) and sometimes it has been reliability. However, in each case it is compounded by the lack of quality in the available infrastructure.

Quality infrastructure (QI) in this case refers to standards, testing and certification of mini- grid technologies. Mini-grids are complex systems with components from different suppliers, developed for different applications. Although a degree of QI is ensured at component level, lack of QI for mini-grids at systems level presents a barrier to sustainable market growth and long-term profitability of mini-grid systems.

The project contributes to SDGs by enabling access to affordable and clean energy in a sustainable way to rural communities across the world. The objective of the project is to develop a systems level test bed supporting the accelerated validation and roll out of mini- grids. The testbed will allow for rapid prototyping of innovative solutions, particularly supporting the incorporation and exploitation of digitalization, contributing to standardization activities, improvements in reliability and O&M, and instilling confidence in the uptake of novel mini-grid projects.

What will students be working on?

The objective of the project is develop a systems level cyber-physical test bed to facilitate the testing of mini-grids in a safe environment that can be repeated under representative circumstances. The Dynamic Power Systems Laboratory at Strathclyde is a state-of-the- art smart grid laboratory with world leading power hardware in the loop capability. The existing real-time simulation capabilities and hardware-in-the-loop know-how can be readily harnessed to support the development of a systems level cyber physical test bed.

The aims of the project are:

  • To design, build and commission a cyber-physical mini-grid test bed
  • To develop digital twins of real-world mini-grids (building upon several field trials Strathclyde has been involved in).
  • To develop a standardized testing and certification methodology for mini-grids (system level) and novel technologies.

Have more questions or want to get involved?

Please contact mazheruddin.syed@strath.ac.uk, or apply for this project.