Analysis and control of electrical networks dominated by power electronic converters

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Research theme - Energy
Research area - Energy Networks
According to the Committee on Climate Change the UK government's commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels) will require significant, if not total, decarbonisation of the national energy supply. A core measure to achieve this is developing an electrical grid that is largely driven by networks of distributed solar power, wind power and electrical energy storage systems. This would challenge the traditional operating principles of the grid as these types of generators supply the grid through power converters which do not provide the inherent stability characteristics associated with traditional large synchronous generators, such as the turbines in a coal power plant.
A stable electricity grid is vital to the overall provision of a secure energy supply to end users across the country, especially as it is predicted that the proportion of the energy supplied to the transport and heating sectors that comes from electricity will also need to increase. The optimal method and/or the fundamental feasibility of operating the UK electricity grid under these conditions without instability is an open research question.
This project will investigate this question by mathematically examining the underlying stability of the electrical system when it is solely driven by the power electronics in different types of power converters, and use this to propose control and operational strategies to mitigate certain types of instability. It is anticipated that the increasing amount of data available on the electrical system state from devices such as smart meters, combined with the capabilities of these highly controllable power converters, could facilitate the implementation of these novel strategies. It is also anticipated that any intellectual works could be transferable to industrial practice by engaging with companies such as National Grid, GE Grid Solutions and Smarter Grid Solutions.
The problem is one which requires a whole-system perspective on both converter control and grid operation, which as decarbonisation progresses may need a systematic rethinking of fundamental principles.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2022
2283859 Studentship EP/N509486/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 Fredrik Jonathan Smith
EP/R513052/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2283859 Studentship EP/R513052/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 Fredrik Jonathan Smith