PhD opportunities

Aggregation and control of distributed energy resources in low-voltage grids to support operations of distribution and transmission grids

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseEnergétique et génie des procédés
Doctoral SchoolISMME - Ingénierie des Systèmes, Matériaux, Mécanique, Énergétique
SupervisorMICHIORRI Andrea
Co-supervisorSOSSAN Fabrizio
Research unitEnergétique et Procédés
KeywordsPower systems, Renewable generation, Modeling, Control, Optimization, Experiments
In response to the gas crisis and global warming, the European Union has recently recommended accelerating the adoption of renewable energies, including mandatory solar rooftops for residential and commercial buildings [1].
As known, the increasing proportion of renewable generation in power systems poses several challenges to grid operators, from the need for backup generation at steeper ramping duties and at multiple time scales, to the inadequacy of the current transmission and distribution grid infrastructure, which was not designed to host a significant amount of dispersed generation [2].
A notion widely advocated to counteract these issues is to control distributed energy resources (DERs), such as demand-side resources, distributed generation, and energy storage, to support the operations of both the local distribution grid and, thanks to aggregating a large number of resources, the transmission grid.

Objective of this project :
The objective of this thesis is to develop and validate control algorithms for heterogeneous DERs to provide grid forming services, primary frequency control, and power reserves to the transmission grid, and congestion management to the local distribution grid. The methods that will be considered are multiple. They include droop controllers with optimally allocated parameters and explicit power set-point for real-time control, and model-based and model-less distributed optimization for short- and long-term scheduling (e.g., [3]), and possibly others which will be identified throughout the project. Validation will be carried out in an innovative and new experimental facility of MINES ParisTech (figure) that includes a microgrid with DERs connected to the upper-grid level with a grid emulator and a real-time digital simulator (RTDS). This setup allows reproducing the impact of local control on frequency dynamics of the bulk power grid, an option not possible in a conventional grid-connected setup, making it possible to test closed-loop dynamics and stability in low-inertia settings. The validation in a prime experimental context and the refinement of the methods that this will enable stands as this project's main contribution.

Methodology and expected results:
Control and scheduling algorithms will be first developed and preliminarily validated by simulations and after having identified suitable simulation models of the resources involved. Reduced-order models will be developed to be included in model-based control strategies. Algorithms will then be deployed in appropriate hardware for experimental validation. A simulation model of the bulk power grid will be identified and implemented in the RTDS to enable the evaluation of the system impact of local control (e.g, [4]). Because algorithms will be tested in a practical experimental context, special emphasis will be given to developing computationally tractable and scalable formulations.

[1] REPowerEU: A plan to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition,
[2] I. M. Dudurych, “The impact of renewables on operational security: Operating power systems that have extremely high penetrations of nonsynchronous renewable sources,” IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, vol. 19, 2021.
[3] Gupta, Rahul, Fabrizio Sossan, and Mario Paolone. 'Grid-aware distributed model predictive control of heterogeneous resources in a distribution network: Theory and experimental validation.' IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion 36.2 (2020): 1392-1402.
ProfileTo apply, send CV, one recommendation letter, and transcript of records to in a single email with subject “Application for the PhD position LSEI []” before 1 July, 2022.

Skills generally required at MINES Paris - PSL: Engineer or Master of Science. Good analytical and communication skills. Good level of general and scientific culture. The candidate should be motivated to perform research; he/she should be creative, motivated to work in a dynamic research context, and capable of working autonomously as well as following supervisors’ directions. Professional proficiency in English (C1). French recommended (B1).

Specific skills required for this thesis: The desired profile has a degree in the broad field of electrical engineering, skills in physics and applied math (e.g., modeling, optimization), computer programming (e.g., MATLAB), and motivation in performing experimentation in a laboratory setting with real hardware to validate own theoretical models. Previous work or background in power and energy systems is a plus. Knowledge of the OPAL-RT software suite is also a plus.
FundingFinancement d'un Etablissement d'enseignement supérieur