PhD Candidate

WorkplaceFlemish Region, Ghent, Belgium


TW08 - Department of Electrical Energy, Metals, Mechanical Constructions and Systems

Master of Science in electromechanical or electrical engineering (or equivalent)

Job description

PhD research subject: In a classical power system, the energy flows from large power plants downstream to the different consumers. This concept is known for more than hundred years and a significant amount of research in the field of controlling a classical power system has been done, in order to guarantee its stable operation. Due to environmental concerns, i.e. for integrating renewable energy sources, more efficient concepts such as microgrids emerge. In a microgrid, the production and consumption is mainly local, causing the system to operate more efficiently.

Despite the benefits of microgrids, there are some challenges. A microgrid contains a variety of energy sources, which makes it more difficult to control and to ensure the balance between the produced and the consumed power when operating in island mode. This is because some of the energy sources such as solar panels and wind have intermittent characteristics, causing power quality issues that can lead to an equipment failure. The major components of a microgrid are loads (households), distributed generation units (renewable and fossil fuel-based ones) and storage systems. The most common renewable energy sources in a microgrid are the photovoltaic systems and the wind turbines. Due to the intermittent nature of the solar irradiation and wind, energy storage is required to provide energy when renewable generation is not present. Another opportunity is to integrate renewable energy sources (outside the microgrid) for balancing. In the current project, the case of tidal energy. The tides are more easily predictable compared to the solar irradiation and the wind. Therefore, this will make the renewable energy sources in the microgrid more diverse and the storage capacity could be reduced.

In microgrids different power quality issues may arise. E.g., during peak energy production periods the injected currents into the microgrid will cause overvoltages. To deal with this, the excess of energy is stored in the energy storage system and/or demand side management is used. The storage system is subdivided into two major parts - fast response energy storage and slow response energy storage. The fast response energy storage is needed when urgent need of energy is requested by the households or other loads and thus undervoltages are prevented. The long term storage uses an electrolyser to obtain hydrogen which is used later as an energy source for different needs such transport and electricity. Due to the power peaks of the renewable energy resources, the efficiency of the electrolyser is deteriorated because it does not operate in a steady-state regime. Therefore, the second purpose of combining two types of storage systems is to improve the electrolyser efficiency.

All controllable assets of the microgrid (DG units, storage systems, demand response units) require a sophisticated energy management system that will control and monitor the microgrid and also operate it in a safe, secure and efficient state. Besides the above mentioned controllable assets, the energy management system will be responsible for (i) integration of tidal energy production (ii) running optimisation procedures to control the different distributed generation units in order to avoid overvoltages and undervoltages, (iii) to prevent current congestions in the feeders and medium to low voltage transformers, (iv) optimising the energy storage systems such that the running time of the fossil fuel generators is minimised and therefore a reduction of CO2 emissions is achieved and finally (v) optimal efficiency of the electrolyser is obtained.

Profile of the candidate

It concerns a joint PhD between Ghent University (Belgium) and the University of Caen Normandy (France) The candidate will perform the doctoral research partly in France and partly in Belgium. The PhD work will be performed in collaboration with the ITEG project partners ( >
Applicants should have:

  • a master degree in electromechnanical or electrical engineering (or equivalent) and interest in energy research

  • strong motivation to perform academic research

  • well-developed social skills to work together within the frame of a European project

  • very good to excellent English language skills

    How to apply

    Provide your motivation letter and cv per e-mail to prof. Lieven Vandevelde (lieven.vandevelde [at] ugent[.]be). ,
In your application, please refer to
and reference  JobID 800.