Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-23 "Smart hierarchical control of Multi-energy vector MicroGrid for cities"

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    EngineeringControl engineering
    EngineeringElectrical engineering
    EngineeringSystems engineering
    EngineeringThermal engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


The current energy transition from carbonaceous to renewable sources has created a very strong pressure on the power grid. In particular in cities, which distribution system was never meant to integrate distributed generation as photovoltaic panels, neither the recent increase in demand brought by electric vehicles (EV). Renewables and EVs also imply in variability that creates congestion and grid instability. Indeed, electricity has been the preferred energy vector in the integration of renewable energies, electric vehicles and intelligent buildings. As a result, this network is often led to congestion and its limit of stability.

Classical solution of reconstruct and oversize the system is neither sustainable or feasible in due time. Another solution, to oversize storage, again would be too costly. The current work aims to use Information Technology developments, and in particular automatic control, in order to stabilize the grid, in spite of variability brought by renewables and EVs. Indeed, renewable energy sources have emerged as an alternative to meet the growing demand for energy, mitigate climate change, and contribute to sustainable development.

To tackle these problems, it is acknowledged that almost half of energy consumption in urban environments is used for thermic objectives (heating/air-conditioning). In addition, the electrical and thermal dynamics are very different, and therefore thermal inertia can represent a natural storage compared to electricity. For this reason, a possible solution is to use in parallel electric and thermic networks, called the Multi-Energy Vector. Therefore, the scientific problem in this topic is the Control/Management and Optimal Power Flow of a Multi-Energy Vector merging electric and thermal networks. This topic is motivated by the goal of introducing larger shares of renewable energy in the overall energy consumption, which is hindered by the intermittent nature of these renewable energies.

There are few articles that study combined electrical and thermal models. There is a series of works that propose the notion of Energy Hub. Each Energy Hub contains three basic elements: connections, power converters and storage. In this way it is possible to develop the model of an Energy Hub, as well as the electrical and thermal distribution networks, through a system of non-linear equations. Other works have proposed an analysis of these combined networks. These analyses are performed in several steps, first isolated and then together, of the electric and thermal power flow, which are then combined in a state vector of important order. The general system is then linearized, and the analysis is performed by the time solution of its Jacobian matrix by a Newton-Raphson algorithm. More recently, other works have developed a combined model and analysis, which has allowed the calculation of an Optimal Power Flow so as to minimize system costs and losses, while respecting the limitations of power flows.

The group involved in this work wishes to develop algorithms and schemes for the control/management of an electro thermal smart grid at the scale of a neighborhood. The problem is quite difficult due to the size and complexity of these networks, and to the diversity of the dynamics involved (electrical, thermal and possibly mechanical). The objective therefore is to first create a dynamic multi time-scale model and to simulate the combined architecture. To combine both networks, there are many coupling components (for example CHP units, heat pumps, electric boilers, and circulation pumps). It will then be created a multi time scale dynamic model to achieve the combined simulation, which means multiple models at different time scales used simultaneously. Indeed thermal systems’ dynamics are in the range of minutes or above, while electricals’ are in the time scale of seconds or below.

As a second step, control algorithms will be developed, following previous results of the group. Main theoretical tools will be in the field of automatic control, in particular those on nonlinear and networked systems, and Model Predictive Control (MPC), because of the multiple time-scales and the fact that forecasts as weather, production and load are available. MPC will ensure the system achieves stability, and that it follows objectives in an accurate and optimized manner. This will allow the combined grid to integrate large shares of renewable sources and electric vehicles.

The concept is very innovative and challenging, because even if very logical, it is also quite complex. The algorithms will be based on these new elements from Information Technology and embedded systems, and should allow an important integration of renewable sources and electric vehicles, on the basis of the already existing networks, thanks to the flexibility brought by the joint steering of the multi-energy vector, and possibly the integration of distributed information and weather forecasts.

The main expected results are composed of control algorithms, working in several time scales, to be embedded in both electrical and thermal grids. These algorithms shall obtain a more efficient control of both grids, allowing to use these current grids in the framework of a much larger integration of renewable energy sources and electrical vehicles. Either cause very important problems of power congestion and voltage stability, that cause cascaded effects and blackouts.

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel.
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory.
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Specific Requirements

This thesis will be in cosupervision (cotutelle) with Politecnico di Milano (Italy).

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 716935


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