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Building a case for de-centralised energy systems

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Macleod
    Prof N J Hewitt
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Development of renewable energy projects in rural areas has been promoted as a means for diversification of the local economy, providing skilled jobs, reduction of reliance on expensive imports of polluting fossil fuels and the potential to reduce high unit costs of electricity. Despite rural areas having favourable meteorological conditions conducive to high load factors on wind turbines; high uptake of emerging technologies (microgeneration renewables, high EV ownership); and infrastructure in place to test marine energy devices, there are still numerous barriers in place that act to impede the true development of sufficiently sustainable territories.

National grid infrastructure presently insufficient to support the transmission of the renewable electricity generated in remote locations. As such wind developments (many community developments) are being curtailed in generational down time they do not receive payments for curtailment or Feed In Tariffs. Despite the ineffectiveness of the grid in remote rural areas, customers are being charged some of the highest rates in the UK for electricity, a contributing factor in the high rates of fuel poverty.

Decentralised energy centres have the potential to ease energy inefficiencies in remote areas and provide a community element to solving high energy prices in terms of economic cost and carbon reduction. A number of energy vectors can be utilised such as hydrogen and biofuels, with potential for grid balancing and generation of heat, power for buildings and transport.

This project is concerned with energy balancing at community level and there is expected to be a significant focus on hydrogen technology.

Knowledge and experience of Hydrogen is desirable.

Application Process


The project is expected to start March/April 2018

Applicants must possess a minimum of an Honours degree at 2:1 and/or a Master’s Degree (or International equivalent) in a relevant subject.

To apply please complete the standard application form, attaching supporting documentation and send to: [Email Address Removed]

9th February 2018 at 12 noon (UK time)

Funding Notes

This project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The studentship covers fees, plus a stipend at the RCUK level, for a total of 39 months (including writing-up).
Funding is available for students worldwide.

Students must be domiciled in the Highlands and Islands region during the course of their study to be eligible for funding. Students are expected to be based full-time at Lews Castle College, Stornoway.


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