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Smart Energy Infrastructure for Future Power Networks PhD


School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship to cover tuition fees* plus stipend of £18,000 per year for three years, to be undertaken in the Centre of Energy Systems and Strategy at Cranfield University, in the field of power and energy systems. This PhD project investigates smart energy network and infrastructure for future power system with renewable energy. This research is sponsored by EPSRC under the Doctorial Training Partnership with industrial support from HVSS Ltd and National Grid.

Power networks are increasingly penetrated by renewable energy to achieve the net-zero emissions by 2050. The integration of renewable energy will increase the difficulties of power network operation. On 09 August 2019, approximately 1 million customers lost power as a result of a series of events on the National Grid power network (National Grid ESO LFDD Incident Report), which caused significant disruption to many people in their homes and businesses. This PhD project will research smart energy infrastructure to help develop a safe and secure power network operation.

This PhD project will investigate the flexible-controlled and AI-enabled smart energy assets and network control strategy to enhance the frequency stability and voltage regulation in the future power networks with renewable and distributed energy resources. The project aims to investigate the smart energy assets to enhance the “flexible” and “digital” features, and to develop AI-based network control strategy to improve the “sustainable” and “resilient” power network operation.

The successful candidate will work within Cranfield’s well-established power system research group, where we conduct research on the power system planning and operation, renewable energy integration to the grid, and power grid interaction with multi-energy systems. Some of our key academics have many years of industrial experience such as at National Grid, some have highly citied papers such as in Nature Energy. Cranfield University is a research-oriented and postgraduate-only university that has an outstanding academic reputation, which is supported by our close relations with industry.

The student will define the research questions and plan, review literature and conduct independent research, report progress and disseminate results in high-impact journals, conferences and workshops. At the end of the PhD project the student will be expected to develop novel design method and advanced simulation model for the future power network.

The project will support the student to conduct a placement in a specific company to learn infrastructure design and power network operation at an industrial scale. Funding is available for the student to attend international conferences, workshops and network meetings. The student will have opportunity to work with experts from the real industry.

PhD’s are widely recognised as being key qualifications for future employment in areas including academia, industry, consultancy, and research and development. The student will gain a multitude of transferable skills throughout their PhD applicable in both industry and academia. Essential training will be arranged for student to develop the academic discipline and transferrable skills, such as “risk management for research project”, “enhancing resilience for PhD students”, “developing positive work relationships”, etc.

Entry requirements
Applicants should have a first or upper second class UK honours degree, or equivalent, in a related discipline, such as Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Energy and Power, Mathematics, Computer Science or any other relevant engineering/scientific/computational based subject. The successful candidate will have a good understanding in the fields of energy system, computer simulation, modelling and control of an energy network, as well as have expertise in the relevant tools, such as MATLAB.

Eligible applicants are UK or EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has settled status. EU applicants not meeting this condition are eligible for a tuition fees only award.

Funding Notes

Sponsored by EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) scheme and industrial partners HVSS Ltd and the National Grid.

This PhD studentship will cover full Cranfield University UK/EU tuition fees* and Stipend of approximate £18,000 per year (tax-free) for three years. Additional support is available towards further research expenses, such as travel and subsistence for research visits and conferences.

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