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Fault Tolerant Solid State Transformers for Microgrid (Ref: ReNU/Horsfall)

Department of Engineering

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Dr A Horsfall No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2020.

The need to connect renewable energy sources to distribution grids requires power electronic converters. The project aims to investigate the reliability of a new paradigm in converters – the solid state transformer – by considering modes of failure at the individual transistor level and then using these to identify mitigation strategies at the transistor and system level.
In this PhD project, the successful candidate will initially focus on
(1) Computer simulation of the electric field distribution in power transistors and the influence of heavy ion irradiation
(2) Experimental assessment of the breakdown in power devices using two photon exposure
(3) Developing control strategies to produce a fault tolerant converter for use in cosmic ray environments.
The experimental work will be based on the existing solid state transformer demonstrator, located in the department of engineering at Durham.
The successful candidate will join a diverse, multi-disciplinary research team with a range of first degrees working on a range of academic and industrial problems.

This project is supervised by Dr Alton Horsfall. For enquiries about the project., please contact [Email Address Removed].

For this project you must apply through the Durham University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please navigate to and select ‘Apply now’ followed by ‘Apply for postgraduate study.’

When completing your application, please ensure that you note that you are applying for the appropriate ReNU project by completing the application fields as follows:

Course details
• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you been in contact with a potential supervisor?’
• Complete the ‘intended supervisor’s name’ with ReNU/Horsfall
• Complete Engineering as the Department

• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?
• Select ‘other’ from the drop-down list under, ‘Please indicate which scholarship you have applied for’
• Complete ‘Please enter the name of the Scholarship you have applied for or will be applying for’ with ReNU/Horsfall

The application closing date is 11 May 2020. Please note that interviews, should they be arranged, will be online rather than in person due to COVID-19.

The applicant is expected to have a 1st or 2:1 class honours degree, or postgraduate Masters (preferably at Merit level) in Physics, Electronic or Electrical Engineering or a related subject as well as an appropriate IELTS score if required. Applicants should not be engaged with Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full Home fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rates (for 2019/20, this was £15,009 pa). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

Please note that the scholarship award is set at the Home/EU level of fees. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award. Note that up to 2 offers of a PhD place will be made for the ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.
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